Shanteya Hudson, Public News Service
A recent report by the nonpartisan public-policy organization Demos uncovers disturbing findings regarding the impact of voter-registration purges in ten states, including North Carolina. The study reveals that North Carolina’s voter policy has led to the removal of hundreds of thousands of voters from the registration rolls, raising concerns about their access to voting rights.
Angela Hanks, chief of programs for Demos, emphasized the lack of transparency and accountability in the purge process, leaving individuals unaware of their removal until Election Day.
“And on that front, there was no state that was a model for removal practices, or safeguards against improper removal. And so what happens is, when states have flood policies on that front, they tend to lead to improper purges,” she explained.
Proponents argue that voter-purge policies help maintain the accuracy and integrity of voter rolls, and argue periodically removing ineligible or outdated voter registrations helps prevent fraud. Critics of voter-purge laws argue processes are not always clear and provided an inadequate notice to correct mistakes. The report found between the 2020 and 2022 general elections, states removed more than 19-million records from voter-registration rolls.
Hanks said such policies undermine the essence of a fair and representative electorate, ultimately weakening the democratic foundation. She added these policies often disproportionately affect already marginalized communities and believes there needs to be state and federal action to put safeguards in place.
“The best safeguard is being able to show up on election day,” Hanks said. “If you find out at that point that you’re unable to cast your ballot, being able to register on the spot, be able to cast a ballot, that’s not a provisional ballot.”
Hanks pointed to the federal Freedom to Vote Act, which has been re-introduced after suffering a narrow defeat last year.
This article originally appeared in Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.