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Christian Smith-Socaris on November 4, 2008 - 5:43pm
How well voting rolls are maintained has enormous consequences for voters. Poor list maintenance can result in the disenfranchisement of thousands of voters, just as inaccurate voter rolls can complicate election administration. When lists are "cleaned" of ineligible voters without proper safeguards, large numbers of people can be improperly removed. This was done in Florida in 2000, purportedly to remove persons who had lost their voting rights due to a felony conviction. But the manner in which it was done resulted in the removal of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, most of whom were African-American.
Mandating and implementing best practices for voter list maintenance is an essential element in protecting the right to vote; these include:
- Establishing transparent, specific criteria for removing voters.
- Avoiding list matching as a means of removing voters.
- Giving notice and the right to challenge removal.
Vote - Policy
Brief on Maintaining Current and Accurate Voter Lists
Project Vote - Voter List Maintenance Model Bill
Brennan Center for Justice - Voter Purges and Challenges
Brennan Center for Justice - Policy Brief on Inaccurate Purges of the Voter Rolls
Demos - Purged: Will Eligible Voters be Purged from the Election Rolls?