According to ThinkProgress, in a two year period 300,00 eligible voters were warned that they would be removed from Texas voter rolls. As it stands Texas voter registration rates are already among the lowest in the country with one of every 10 eligible voters’ registration currently suspended.
Throughout the state 21% of voters who receive purge letters later proved they were in fact eligible to vote.
The most common reason eligible voters were warned they would be removed from the rolls is because they failed to respond to general form letters questioning their eligibility or because they were mistaken for someone else.
The Houston Chronicle investigated the situation and found that the voter purges were conducted using outdated computer programs and faulty procedures. Every year thousands of voters receive requests by the state to verify voter information because they share a name with a voter who died, was convicted of a crime or claimed to be a non-citizen to avoid jury duty. Voters who fail to respond to these form letter requests for verifications, or those who never receive them, get dropped.
There’s a reason the Voting Rights Act had to be passed and it’s the same reason conservatives are fighting so hard against it today. Expansive voter enfranchisement and protections ensure truer representation of everyone’s interests. Widespread voter disenfranchisement in not just a stain on our democratic process, it’s a threat to our very democracy.
Photo from hjl via flickr.
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