Voter Purging 101

VOTER
PURGING

is a process that helps states and counties maintain and update voter rolls and data by canceling registrations for voters who are no longer eligible.

States rely on faulty data that purport to show that a voter has moved to another state. Oftentimes, this data gets people mixed up. In big states like California and Texas, multiple individuals can have the same name and date of birth, making it hard to be sure that the right voter is being purged when perfect data are unavailable.

The Breenan Center Report (2019)

RIGHTFUL PURGING


Voters who have died

Voters who have moved out of state

When does it become a problem?

Political parties and partisan groups have used wrongful voter purging to disenfranchise voters and manipulate elections for decades.

Troublingly, minority voters are more likely to share names than white voters, potentially exposing them to a greater risk of being purged. Voters often do not realize they have been purged until they try to cast a ballot on Election Day — after it’s already too late.

The Brennan Center
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The Voter Rights Act of 1965 sought to address voter suppression via nationwide legislation and enforcement.

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Shelby County v. Holder alters which areas fall under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, making it easier for states with a history of voter discrimination to utilize voter purging.

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voters purged nationwide between 2016 and 2018