Purges

June 26, 2012

States are pressured to purge their voter rolls of ineligible voters or duplicate records. But they often do so without adequate protections for eligible voters. For example, the lists states use as the basis for purging voter rolls may be riddled with inaccuracies, resulting in the removal of many eligible voters. The substantial discretion many states vest in election officials leaves room for manipulation of purges to suppress certain votes. And although federal law requires states to follow certain procedures, such as notifying a voter before removing their name from a list, states nevertheless conduct purges without informing individuals, denying them an opportunity to protect their rights. Unfair challenges or caging practices may also lead to the removal of eligible voters from the voter rolls.

To guard against these problems, the Brennan Center provides legal assistance to government officials and advocates seeking to ensure that voter purges and challenges are non-discriminatory and do not result in the disenfranchisement of eligible voters.

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