December 6, 2023

Following information that an unknown variety of Virginians have been illegally faraway from voter rolls, pro-democracy teams are condemning the Youngkin administration for the state Division of Elections’ actions.

A latest 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 12 months 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 – stated that these removals had been the results of a newly “automated” course of.

However after a state decide discovered that an Arlington County man had been stripped of his voting rights for committing a probation violation, not a brand new felony, an investigation by Virginia Public Media advised that related unlawful disenfranchisements had been extra widespread.

ACLU of Virginia coverage strategist Shawn Weneta introduced that the group acquired studies of unlawful disenfranchisement over technical probation violations from a lot of Virginians whose rights had been restored by previous governors.

“Even worse, 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,” Weneta continued. The Registrars are required to inform voters of adjustments to their voter registration information however can solely accomplish that after being knowledgeable by the DOE, suggesting that the knowledge could not have been offered in the well timed method required by state regulation.

This week, a spokesperson for DOE introduced that the division has begun working with state police to establish Virginians whose registrations had been “canceled in error.”

It’s unclear how lengthy this identification course of will take, and even after illegally disenfranchised voters have been IDed, notifying and remedying the issue will doubtless take even longer. With early voting already underway for Virginia’s November elections and Election Day itself barely a month away, the invention of the DOE’s error comes at an particularly troubling time.

Weneta advised VPM that the DOE’s actions “have already had a chilling impact on Virginians’ participation in early voting.”

Democratic Occasion of Virginia chair Susan Swecker has referred to as for an investigation into the “weaponized incompetence” of Youngkin’s DOE.

“This unlawful purge is a felony affront to the fundamental foundations of democracy and additional underscore the methods through which MAGA Republicans are working to subvert the features of our democratic course of,” stated Swecker.

Virginia is the one state within the nation that mechanically 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 12 months, Youngkin introduced that he had rescinded a coverage of mechanically restoring voting rights to those that have accomplished felony sentences.

  • Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler

    Carolyn Fiddler is Dogwood’s chief political correspondent. She can also be the nation’s foremost professional in state politics with virtually 20 years of expertise in statehouse machinations, and her comedian e book assortment might be greater than yours.