clearn.png
Monday May 17th, 2021 10:06PM

EXPLAINER: Varying views on how to keep accurate voter rolls

By The Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) — A key element of voting restrictions pushed by Republican state lawmakers this year focuses on cleaning voter rolls to ensure only those eligible are registered. Maintaining accurate voter rolls is a bipartisan concern, but there is little agreement on the best way to do it. Democrats say some of the actions proposed by Republicans are too aggressive and will end up purging eligible voters. Republicans say Democrats are too lax, resulting in bloated voter rolls that undermine confidence and invite fraud.

In Congress, a Democratic voting rights bill would prohibit states from using a person’s failure to vote to initiate their removal from the rolls. Here is an explanation of how voter rolls are maintained, how states do it differently and the conflicts over this year’s legislative proposals.

WHAT ARE VOTER ROLLS AND HOW ARE THEY MAINTAINED?

Every state except North Dakota requires voters to register in advance of an election. A growing number allow for same-day registration during early voting periods and, in some cases, on Election Day. Under federal law, voters can be removed upon their request or through a process based on an indication that they are no longer eligible.

When an election official receives information that a voter has moved, that typically triggers a notice to the voter that must be returned. Otherwise, the voter will be deemed inactive and eventually removed from the rolls unless there is some subsequent contact with the elections office, such as updating their address. Federal law also directs states to remove those who have died from voter lists and prohibits the removal of any voter within 90 days of an election.

ARE THERE EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE BEING WRONGLY PURGED?

Yes. In 2016, New York City’s Board of Elections improperly removed more than 200,000 names from the voter rolls. The same year, 7,700 people in Arkansas were identified for removal for felony convictions, but it was later determined the list included people who had never been convicted of a felony along with those whose voting rights had been restored after their conviction. These examples were cited in a 2018 report by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU that found some states rely on faulty data and lack safeguards to detect and correct problems.

WHAT IS BEING PROPOSED THIS YEAR?

Experts with the Brennan Center, which advocates for greater voting access, say roughly 40 state bills have been introduced this year that could result in voters being improperly removed from the rolls. Some would require election officials to use the National Change of Address database, which people sometimes use for temporary changes. Some legislation also would require the use of citizenship data, but experts say this can quickly become outdated as people gain U.S. citizenship. Election experts say data sources are not perfect and that it’s important for officials to use multiple sources, be transparent and provide opportunities for voters to correct errors.

WHAT IS ‘USE IT OR LOSE IT'?

Federal law prohibits states from removing voters for not voting, what some call “use it or lose it.” But a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2018 said failure to vote in one election could be an indication that someone has moved. It can be used to justify an election office sending a notice to voters asking them to confirm their address and eligibility. Critics, including former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, say people have a right not to vote and that targeting infrequent voters disproportionately affects minorities. Younger votes who tend to move more frequently also are affected.

West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner, in written testimony, said congressional Democrats' voting rights bill “eviscerates” his state’s ability to maintain voter rolls and could lead to “more registered voters than voting age population on registration rolls.”

WHAT HAS PASSED THIS YEAR?

Many of the state bills are still working their way through legislatures, so it will not be known for weeks or months how many become law. In Iowa, Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds already has signed into law a GOP-backed bill that not only adds restrictions on early and mail voting but speeds up the process for cancelling the registrations of voters who do not participate in elections.

Voters will be marked in Iowa's voter registration database as inactive if they do not vote in a single general election, which occur every two years. If they miss two more general elections while listed as inactive, their registrations will be cancelled.

Simply getting marked as inactive should have no immediate effect on voters because they can reactivate themselves simply by showing up with an ID at their polling place, said Linn County Auditor Joel Miller, a Democrat and elections commissioner of the state’s second largest county.

Those who are cancelled after years of inactivity will be required to re-register, but Iowa also offers Election Day voter registration. State Sen. Eric Giddens, a Cedar Falls Democrat, said he still worries the change would lead to unwarranted purges because people won't know about the law.

___

Associated Press writer Ryan J. Foley in Iowa City, Iowa, contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Election News
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Tornado flattens homes in Alabama, knocks out power in South
Tornadoes moving through Alabama have demolished homes near Birmingham and left thousands without power
5:19PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Ivy League town weighs revamping police; critics see flaws
The nationwide reexamination of policing after the killing of George Floyd has led an Ivy League town in New York to consider an ambitious and contentious plan to remake its force
5:10PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Are suit jackets oppression? Lawmakers fight own dress codes
State legislatures are being forced to confront long standing dress codes that are increasingly viewed as sexist and racist
5:03PM ( 20 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Penny dreadful: Georgia man receives final paycheck in coins
A Georgia man says he was given $915 worth of pennies as a form of payment from his previous employer
5:14PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Georgia speaker: State study to look at Atlanta rising crime
Georgia’s speaker of the House wants to study whether the state should intervene in policing the city of Atlanta
5:06PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Biden leaves door open for Senate changes to advance agenda
President Joe Biden is leaving the door open to backing fundamental changes in Senate procedure to muscle key parts of his agenda past Republican opposition
4:54PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
For media, Biden news conference notable for what's missing
Joe Biden's first presidential news conference was notable for what was missing now that Donald Trump is gone: no contentious exchanges with reporters, no Fox News and no questions about COVID-19
4:44PM ( 39 minutes ago )
Biden leaves door open for US to stay longer in Afghanistan
President Joe Biden is leaving the door open for U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan through the end of the year
4:24PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Final vote results show major setback for Israel's Netanyahu
Final results from Israel's election show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing allies have fallen short of winning a parliamentary majority
3:49PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Final results confirm political deadlock after Israeli vote
Final election results show Israel in political deadlock once again, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his opponents falling short of a governing majority
3:00PM ( 2 hours ago )
Rallies in Atlanta, nation against hate after spa shootings
Hundreds of people gathered near the Georgia state Capitol to demand justice for the victims of shootings at massage businesses in and around Atlanta
2:56PM ( 2 hours ago )
The Latest: Biden aims to check China's growing ambitions
President Joe Biden says China’s ambition of becoming the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world is “not going to happen under my watch.”
2:42PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Wyoming election changes pushed by Donald Trump Jr. fail
Wyoming lawmakers have rejected a measure requiring candidates to win a majority of votes in primaries to avoid runoff elections
12:54PM ( 4 hours ago )
US cyber experts conducted operations to safeguard election
The U.S. Cyber Command says it conducted more than two dozen operations aimed at preventing interference in last November’s presidential election
12:28PM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Virus interrupts forming of new Dutch government
The coronavirus has interrupted the process of forming a new Dutch government, with one of the two “scouts” mapping out possible coalitions testing positive for COVID-19
5:09AM ( 12 hours ago )
AP Elections
GOP firebrand US Rep. Mo Brooks enters Alabama Senate race
A conservative firebrand and staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump who came under fire for remarks preceding the attack on the U.S. Capitol has joined the Alabama GOP primary field to replace Sen. Richard Shelby
12:00AM ( 2 days ago )
‘Sorry’: GOP US Rep. Tom Reed retiring amid misconduct claim
U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, a Republican from western New York who was accused last week of rubbing a female lobbyist’s back and unhooking her bra without her consent in 2017, apologized to the woman on Sunday and announced that he will not run for reelection next year
8:30PM ( 3 days ago )
US ties with Russia, China sink as Biden toes tough lines
U.S. relations with its two biggest geo-political rivals are facing severe tests as President Joe Biden tries to assert America's place in the world and distinguish himself from his predecessor
12:22PM ( 5 days ago )
General Election News
Tornado flattens homes in Alabama, knocks out power in South
Tornadoes moving through Alabama have demolished homes near Birmingham and left thousands without power
5:19PM ( 4 minutes ago )
Ivy League town weighs revamping police; critics see flaws
The nationwide reexamination of policing after the killing of George Floyd has led an Ivy League town in New York to consider an ambitious and contentious plan to remake its force
5:10PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Are suit jackets oppression? Lawmakers fight own dress codes
State legislatures are being forced to confront long standing dress codes that are increasingly viewed as sexist and racist
5:03PM ( 20 minutes ago )
Los Angeles park closed after protest to save homeless camp
A newly installed fence is surrounding a Los Angeles park after a late-night confrontation between police and demonstrators who oppose the city’s effort to remove a large homeless encampment and perform what officials say are necessary repairs to the site
4:51PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Snowboarders escaped monster avalanche, but not the law
Two Colorado snowboarders who triggered a slide that destroyed an expensive avalanche mitigation system have been charged with reckless endangerment, and prosecutors are seeking $168,000 in damages
4:37PM ( 47 minutes ago )