Watchdog: Evidence of Unlawful Voter Purge in Pennsylvania

<a href="http://www.shutterstock.com">Lisa F. Young </a>/Shutterstock

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


The Election Protection Coalition, which is managing a voter protection hotline, says that eligible voters may have been unlawfully purged from the rolls in major urban areas of Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. 

“We suspect there has been an unreported purge of voters in Pennsylvania,” said Barbara Arnwine, head of the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights. There are “too many voters being affected by this for us to think it’s voter error or voter confusion,” Arnwine said.

The Election Protection Coalition said it had fielded at least five reports, each describing dozens of voters being turned away from their polling places because they were not registered as of this afternoon. Under federal law, states are supposed to purge the rolls only after voters have failed to vote in two consecutive general elections, and only then after notifying voters of their intent to do so. According to the Lawyer’s Committee, those calling the Election Protection hotline claimed to have voted in 2008, and so shouldn’t have been purged. 

Jon Greenbaum, a former Justice Department attorney who now works with the Lawyer’s Committee, said that the only other explanation for the reports was administrative error. Pennsylvania is already facing widespread confusion among poll workers and voters over the impact of a recently passed voter ID law.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate