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The Amazing Disappearing Voter

Talking Points Memo

Such lawsuits from the right have yielded mixed results, in part because voting rights advocates like the ACLU, Common Cause, Demos, the Lawyers’ Committee, the League of Women Voters and the NAACP have successfully fought back in court. Private groups defending voters have filed more suits to protect voters than the Justice Department itself in recent years. [...]

Voter frustration and disillusionment are among the insidious side effects of voter purges, say civil rights activists. Overzealous purges are part of a broader voter suppression strategy, says Stuart Naifeh, senior counsel at Demos.

“First, you make it harder for people to vote by imposing ID requirements, or proof of citizenship requirements,” says Naifeh. “And then when they don’t vote because you have been successful in keeping them away from the polls, you purge them for not voting.” [...]

“They claim they are promoting election integrity,” says Naifeh of groups like PILF, “but when you kick people off the rolls who are legitimate, or when you are targeting particular communities, the result is people feel like the elections are stacked against them, which reduces turnout.”