Virginia Democrats are calling on the Justice Department to investigate the state’s elections department after the administration announced last week that it had mistakenly removed eligible voters from voter rolls after incorrectly listing them as convicted felons.
The announcement, which came with early voting already underway for a pivotal state election, said that it had identified at least 270 errors. But Democrats are warning that the total could be far more after Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R-Va.) administration removed more than 10,000 voters last year in a purge effort.
We're just weeks away from an election and we're just now finding out that potentially thousands of eligible Virginia voters were purged from the voter rolls.
I'm urging the Justice Department to investigate these alarming reports. https://t.co/IZ6l7pDawE
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) October 11, 2023
In a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Virginia Democrats allege that Youngkin’s administration may have violated the Voting Rights Act with the improper removals. They stressed urgency, noting that the timing comes just weeks before the November election when several high-profile measures, including a 15-week abortion ban, are on the ballot.
“These new reports are alarming, especially with a consequential election already underway in Virginia,” the statement read. According to the Brennan Center, Virginia is the only state that automatically strips a person’s right to vote once they have been convicted of a felony, a policy that is now the subject of several ongoing lawsuits.
Youngkin has insisted that the improper removals were an “honest mistake” that will be corrected before Election Day. According to reports from VPM, the Department of Elections is working with Virginia state police to identify potential voters whose registrations may have been “canceled in error.”