"The caution and professionalism reflected in the Chesterfield registrar’s deliberate actions are to be commended. No one should be quick to purge any voter from the rolls without clear evidence, especially not this close to an election," said ACLU of Virginia's Executive Director, Claire Guthrie Gastañaga.
ACLU of Virginia Staff Attorney and Legislative Counsel, Hope Amezquita, explained the reasons for the ACLU's concerns:
"While the maintenance of accurate and current voter rolls is necessary to the efficient administration of elections and the overall integrity of the system, there is no evidence of problems occurring in Virginia and the timing of Virginia's purge is highly questionable. Making the purge effort more egregious is that suspected voters on the list do not receive notice before being thrown off the rolls -- a voter only gets a letter cancelling their registration. At worst, the mandate of the State Board of Elections to local registrars to conduct a massive purge of voters so close to an election demonstrates a clear effort to suppress the fundamental right to vote. And, as reported by local registrars the data is error-ridden and will result in the disenfranchisement of registered voters if the registrars proceed with bad information.
As seen in other states in the past few years, these voter purges often employ incorrect and incomplete information in the decision to cull the voter rolls, and these systematic decisions tend to disproportionately impact and exclude minority voters. Furthermore, the helpfulness of these mass voter purges is often questionable, since they often produce very few, if any, erroneously registered voters. Other states who conducted massive purges based on unreliable data ended up in court sued by civil rights organizations and the Department of Justice.
Local registrars in Virginia are clearly very busy preparing for the upcoming election and we commend localities that are prudently waiting until they can ensure that the list can be updated correctly and that the voting rights of Virginians are protected."