December 6, 2023

Following information that not less than 275 Virginians have been illegally faraway from voter rolls, the commonwealth’s representatives in Washington are demanding an investigation into the Youngkin administration’s Division of Elections.

A current report launched by the Virginia Division of Elections (DOE) introduced that the division had eliminated over 17,000 individuals from state voter rolls over the previous yr who had beforehand had their voting rights restored by a governor however had been convicted of a brand new felony. The DOE – run by Youngkin appointee and longtime GOP political operative Susan Beals – mentioned that these removals have been the results of a newly “automated” course of.

Nevertheless it shortly grew to become clear that plenty of these voters had their registrations revoked illegally. Media investigations revealed that an unknown variety of these Virginians had not, in actual fact, dedicated new crimes; somewhat, they’d misplaced their proper to vote due to technical probation violations – an unlawful violation of their elementary proper to solid a poll.

Final week, a spokesperson for Youngkin’s DOE admitted that the division was working with state police to establish Virginians whose registrations had been “canceled in error.”

Additional, the ACLU of Virginia mentioned that “a number of Virginians knowledgeable us that they acquired no discover from the Youngkin administration of the Board of Elections of the lack of their voting rights.” Election registrars are required to inform voters of adjustments to their voter registration information however can solely achieve this after being knowledgeable by the DOE, suggesting that the data relating to these voters’ registration cancellations might not have been supplied in the well timed method required by state legislation.

With early voting already underway for Virginia’s November elections and Election Day itself lower than a month away, the DOE’s error comes at an particularly troubling time.

Now Democratic members of Virginia’s congressional delegation are calling for a federal investigation by the U.S. Division of Justice (DOJ) into these unlawful disenfranchisements.

Each of Virginia’s senators and 6 representatives submitted a letter to the DOJ late final week calling for it to research “how these unlawful removals occurred” and the way Youngkin’s DOE is working to make sure voters know that they’re eligible to solid their ballots in November.

“This widespread error creates an infinite barrier to the democratic course of for these affected Virginians whereas early voting has already begun for this November’s election,” the letter continued.

Virginia is the one state within the nation that routinely disenfranchises each voter convicted of a felony. Per the state structure, solely a governor can restore the voting rights to individuals disenfranchised this manner. Earlier this yr, Youngkin introduced that he had rescinded a coverage of routinely restoring voting rights to those that have accomplished felony sentences.

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood’s chief political correspondent. She can be the nation’s foremost professional in state politics with virtually twenty years of expertise in statehouse machinations, and her comedian e-book assortment might be greater than yours.