What We Do

The Voter Purge Project has developed a unique system for acquiring, querying, and analyzing state voter rolls to detect patterns of disenfranchisement.

In many formerly pre-clearance states, registrars still collect demographic data for each registered voter, in addition to their address and voter district. This additional data is critical, because it allows researchers to investigate whether voters of any one demographic are purged more often than others.

By integrating and analyzing voter roll data with other relevant census and contextual data, VPP can reveal patterns of wrongful disenfranchisement and discrimination related to race, age, gender, and other classes, within a state, region, and/or nationally.


Methodology Summary

The Voter Purge Project’s methodology was created and is managed by Steve Tingley-Hock, database consultant and voter rights activist who helped prevent the wrongful purge of 40,000 voters from Ohio’ rolls in 2019. VPP’s methodology is as follows:

  1. VPP acquires voter data files from a state’s Secretary of State office.
  2. VPP then uses the Tingley-Hock System (THS). THS begins with the Extract, Transform, Load (ETL) and analysis. This system “cleans” the data of the characters that won’t load into the Database Management System (DBMS) and loads the clean data into the DBMS.
  3. Once the data are loaded into the DBMS, they can be combined and disaggregated in any manner that the data will allow. With this system, data queries that used to take hours now take only minutes to complete.
  4. The VPP team then cross-references and analyzes overlaps and intersections among voter demographic data, Census data, and other information relevant to voter location, gender, age, race, etc., to detect for significant patterns.
  5. VPP can make all data reports and summary reports available upon request to media, legislators, organizing and advocacy groups, and other interested parties.

A more detailed description of VPP’s database methodology is also available. Contact wade@voterpurgeproject.org for more information.

Results

The Voter Purge Project, with the support of our partners and donors, has processed and is maintaining voter file lists for eight states: Ohio, New York, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington State, and Georgia. Summary reports for these states will soon be available in the Reports section of this website.

And we’re just getting started. VPP is currently analyzing or in the process of acquiring the voter lists for another 15 states:

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • New Jersey
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Vermont
  • Wyoming

Questions about any existing or upcoming voter purge state reports? Email wade@voterpurgeproject.org.

What’s next?

With increased capacity and resources, VPP believes that we and our partners can:

  • Acquire and analyze voter lists for every state in the U.S.
  • Build a network of partners and allies to ensure fair voting in suppressive states
  • Ensure that custodians of voter files prioritize accountability, transparency, and voter data management processes that protect voter rights
  • Establish and train Secretaries of State in best practices in voter list management and maintenance to prevent errors
  • Support nonprofits and Secretaries of State in establishing outreach programs to improve voter eligibility and access