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July 2018, Week 4

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 		 [More people are being purged now than at any time in the past
decade. Much of this increase coincided with a landmark decision
handed down by the Supreme Court in 2013. Shelby County v.
Holder struck at the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act]
[https://portside.org/] 

 HOW PURGES THREATEN TO DISENFRANCHISE VOTERS UNDER THE RADAR  
[https://portside.org/node/17744] 

 

 Kevin Morris 
 July 20, 2018
Brennan Center for Justice
[https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/how-purges-threaten-disenfranchise-voters-under-radar]


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 _ More people are being purged now than at any time in the past
decade. Much of this increase coincided with a landmark decision
handed down by the Supreme Court in 2013. Shelby County v.
Holder struck at the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act _ 

 , Tami Chappell/AFP/Getty Images 

 

Today, my colleagues and I release our newest report: “Purges: A
Growing Threat to the Right to Vote.” This report comes as backers
of strict voting policies are increasingly focusing on making it
harder for would-be voters to get or stay on the rolls.

Over the past year, we looked at laws and policies from across the
country and dug into years’ worth of data from the Election
Administration and Voting Survey. We looked at purge rates across the
country, in counties large and small, calculating the purge rates for
some 6,600 jurisdictions. Among our key findings are:

	* More people are being purged now than at any time in the past
decade. Between the federal elections of 2006 and 2008, boards of
election collectively removed 12 million voters from their rolls. In
the two years ending with the presidential election of 2016, that
number grew to 16 million — an increase of 33 percent.
 	* Much of this increase coincided with a landmark decision handed
down by the Supreme Court in 2013. _Shelby County v. Holder_ struck
at the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the civil rights
legislation writing pivotal protections for access to the franchise
into the books of law. Prior to 2013, counties with a history of
discrimination in their election practices couldn’t make any changes
in their voting rules without first proving that the change wouldn’t
have negative impacts on minority voters. We estimate that as many
as _2 million more voters_ were removed in these previously covered
jurisdictions thanks to their higher purge rates. This number stands
even after we control for all sorts of other sociodemographic factors.
 	* In the past five years, four states (Florida, New York, North
Carolina, and Virginia) have engaged in illegal purges, and four
others (Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, and Maine) have followed purge
policies that violate federal voting law. Many did so by using
Crosscheck, a flawed system for catching voters registered in more
than one state. Crosscheck has been promoted by Kansas Secretary of
State Kris Kobach, who headed the work of the White House’s
controversial and short-lived voting commission.

READ THE REPORT: PURGES: A GROWING THREAT TO THE RIGHT TO VOTE
[https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/purges-growing-threat-right-vote]

READ THE NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED BY THE BRENNAN CENTER’S MYRNA PEREZ
[https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/opinion/midterms-voting-purges-elections-registration.html]

Flawed purges are especially damaging because the voter often won’t
know that she’s been removed from the rolls until she shows up at
the polls on Election Day, meaning, at best, she’ll likely have to
cast a provisional ballot that won’t be counted unless she later
proves her eligibility.

Make no mistake: Not all purges are bad. We need our election
administrators to take steps to ensure the voter rolls are accurate
and up-to-date. But there’s a big difference between proper list
maintenance and the error-prone mass-removal of eligible voters from
the rolls. And the news that purges are on the rise comes as those
acting to limit the franchise have increased the focus on voter
registration policies.

After all, President Trump has successfully convinced many of his
supporters that voter rolls are full of noncitizens or others who
cannot legally vote. In reality, as the Brennan Center has shown
[https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/publications/2017_NoncitizenVoting_Final.pdf],
the number of noncitizens who vote is minuscule. Another former member
of the White House voting commission, however, confirmed this shift
toward focusing on voter list maintenance last December, telling
[https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-voter-fraud-commission-alec_us_5a29bfbde4b069ec48abff48] activists:
“Voter ID is an important thing, but it’s yesterday’s fight.”
The main threat now, he argued, is noncitizens getting on the rolls. 

When states cut early voting days or implement extreme voter ID laws,
the public pays attention, and the press makes noise. In contrast,
voter purges, which all too often are done without any public
announcement, can have the same effect while stirring up far less
backlash. Our report today attempts to shine a light on these
practices, showing just how serious this threat is — and offering
tools for combating it.

_This post is part of the Brennan Center's work to Protect the Vote
[https://www.brennancenter.org/protectthevote] in the 2018 midterm
elections._

_Stay on top of the latest news and learn what you can do to make a
difference by signing up
[http://brennancenter.us14.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=86950646d6302177bc47ef9c5&id=43870feb9f] for Brennan
Center's INSIDER newsletter._

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