Imagine being registered to vote, but when you show up to the polls, you are turned away because you were removed from the voter roll, despite being fully eligible to vote in that election. In recent years, there has been an uptick in wrongful voter removals across the country, which is yet another example of threats to ballot access.
“Protecting Voter Registration: An Assessment of Voter Purge Policies in Ten States,” a new report from Dēmos, the public policy think tank with a strong commitment to racial justice, attempts to explain how this practice can “create unnecessary burdens on the right to vote.”
During last year’s legislative session, 43 bills were introduced by state lawmakers that would “allow or require problematic voter purges, and in 2023, as of the writing of this report, states are considering at least 28 additional bills.”
Yes, some voters do need to be removed due to valid reasons such as address changes and death; however, Dēmos found that many states used “Flawed voter purge practices–such as removals for inactivity or based on inaccurate identification of felony status or citizenship status—[which] often disproportionately target voters of color, naturalized citizens, and other communities, and can prevent many eligible persons from exercising their right to vote.”