Did Alabama Just Violate Federal Voting Law?

December 14, 2017 | | Slate |

Theoretically, voters who received the first postcard and did nothing (as instructed) remained active and received no further correspondence. Stuart Naifeh, a voting rights attorney at Demos, told me that, under the federal National Voter Registration Act, states cannot begin to remove voters from the rolls without some initial indication—such as bounced mail—that they have changed addresses. To put it another way: If Alabama is listing voters as inactive because they didn’t respond to one or both postcards—but neither was returned to sender—it is probably breaking federal law. [...]

These voters’ inactivity wouldn’t be a serious snag if poll workers, and the secretary of state, dealt with it correctly. In many cases, they did not. Under state law, inactive voters can become active and cast a regular ballot once they reidentify themselves, which should be as easy as presenting their photo IDs. (Alabama requires an ID to vote.) But on Tuesday, these voters were compelled to fill out a lengthy, complex form that required them to list, among other things, their county of birth. Montag and Naifeh believe this requirement may also violate the NVRA.