YOU issue: Voter removal

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Here’s what readers asked about:

Georgia is not alone in removing voters from the rolls—Virginia does too, affecting tens of thousands of voters. —Jessie Audette

Georgia fell under the notoriety spotlight for removing an estimated 107,000 voters from its rolls in a tight election year under the state’s “use it or lose it” law, which starts the process if a voter skips one election.

In Virginia, if you get a notice from the state Department of Elections asking if you’ve moved from the address used to register and don’t respond, you could find yourself purged from the voter rolls —although it will take a few years for that to happen.

People are typically taken off the list of registered voters if they move or die. “If a local registrar gets a notification from a reliable source, the Department of Elections will send a notice to ask if you’ve moved,” says Albemarle registrar Jake Washburne.

A reliable source includes the U.S. Postal Service, which provides the names of those who have filed forwarding addresses. Social Security and Vital Records let the elections department know about deaths, and courts report felony convictions and adjudications of incompetency.

If the voter does not respond to the notice asking if she’s moved, that voter is put on the inactive list, says Washburne, and is purged if she doesn’t show up to vote in two successive federal elections.

The purges are done in odd-numbered years after the federal elections and they’re done by the state, says Charlottesville Registrar Rosanna Bencoach.

According to state voter registration statistics for 2017, the elections department purged 3,272 Albemarle voters, 685 of whom died and 1,467 moved out of state. In Charlottesville, the state  purged 3,975 voters. Of those, 233 were deaths and 978 moved out of state.

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