A cross-check of voter registration rolls has indicated 2,176 voters registered in Loudoun County also are registered to cast ballots in other states.
A new state law requires the State Board of Elections to cross check registration records as part of a multi-state effort to combat voter fraud. Virginia and 21 other states have signed on to the database.
The Loudoun County Registrar’s Office will wait until after Election Day Nov. 5 to investigate the status of each of the voters flagged as duplicates. Loudoun General Registrar Judy Brown said she doesn’t want to move too quickly and strike legitimate voters from the rolls.
“The state board cross checks the voter registration and sometimes they get it right and sometimes they don’t,” she said. “We want to do our due diligence and our research to verify we’re not removing someone for no reason.”
Before the end of the year, the registrar’s office will send a letter to voters who may be registered in another state. The letter will request that, if the voter has moved from Virginia, that he or she “sign something asking us to remove them from our rolls,” Brown said. “And if we believe they need to be removed, the law allows us to remove them.”
Most of the 21 states that joined voter database are Republican-led states that have focused on voter and election laws in recent years. Supporters say the steps are needed to protect the integrity of the voting process, but many Democratic leaders say there is little evidence of voter fraud and such measures are a burden on elderly, poor and minority voters.
Evan Macbeth, chairman of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee, said he has received calls from voters who are concerned names will be wrongly pulled from the rolls. After contacting Brown, Macbeth said he has no doubt the local registrar’s office is “doing everything by the book.”
“They’re going to handle it extremely well, but that doesn’t change the fact that there are people who could get thrown off the rolls because they’re not responding to mail appropriately, at no fault to the registrar’s office,” Macbeth said, noting that he’s heard several stories of people wrongly kicked off the rolls in counties outside of Loudoun. “A voter who has the right to vote could be removed from the rolls—all to deal with a problem that does not exist.”
Aside from the multi-state database, the Loudoun registrar’s office constantly updates its roster. Voters who are inactive for two federal elections—mail repeatedly returned to the registrar’s office indicates an “inactive voter”—are purged from the rolls, according to Brown. As of Sept. 3, 19,207 of the county’s 209,780 registered voters—or 9.1 percent—are considered inactive.
Brown said the multi-state database is a beneficial tool to help keep the rolls up-to-date as her office plans for elections. But, she stressed, no legitimate voters should be pulled from the list. If anyone is removed in error, the registar’s office will quickly correct it, she said.
“This is just another tool that we can use to make sure there’s no voter fraud,” Brown added. “But because it’s the first time we’re using it, we need to get it perfected so we can be 100 percent sure when we remove somebody that they’re supposed to be removed.”
Virginia voters can check their registration status online at http://sbe.virginia.gov.