Spanberger Joins Virginia Democrats in Once Again Pushing DOJ to Investigate Youngkin Administration’s Purging of Voter Rolls

This New Effort Comes after the Announcement of Nearly 3,400 Eligible Voters Removed  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today joined every Member of Virginia’s Democratic congressional delegation in once again calling on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the Youngkin Administration’s removal of nearly 3,400 eligible voters from the rolls.

This effort follows a previous letter Spanberger joined on October 6th demanding the DOJ investigate whether these actions violate the Voting Rights Act or other federal laws.

The letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland was signed by Spanberger and U.S. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA), as well as U.S. Representatives Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-03), Gerry Connolly (D-VA-11), Donald Beyer (D-VA-08), Jennifer Wexton (D-VA-10) and Jennifer McClellan (D-VA-04).

“Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Elections first announced that it had improperly removed about 270 voters whose rights were restored after felony convictions. News reports from late last week indicated that the Department had actually improperly removed 3,400 qualified voters,” said Spanberger and her colleagues. “This is over 10 times more voters than initially announced, and the information comes less than two weeks before Election Day and more than a month after the start of early voting. The Department has indicated those affected voters’ records have been sent – and updated – to the local registrars who have then notified these voters via mail; however, it is not clear that these voters will receive the information they are reinstated in a timely manner. Further, the Department noted that 100 of the voters who were wrongly removed have yet to be reinstated and may not be notified of their reinstatement with sufficient time to cast a ballot in next month’s election.”

Their letter continued, “We reiterate our request that DOJ take immediate action to investigate how these removals happened and what is being done to ensure that those whose names were illegally removed from the voting rolls are informed in a timely and effective manner so that they are able to cast a vote in the November 7, 2023, Virginia election.”

Click here to read the letter, and the full letter text is below.

Dear Attorney General Garland,

We are writing to follow up on our request for the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct an investigation into the removal of eligible voters from the voting rolls in Virginia. Our letter, dated October 6, 2023, also asked that DOJ determine if the Virginia Department of Elections had violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act or other federal laws.

Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Elections (the Department) first announced that it had improperly removed about 270 voters whose rights were restored after felony convictions. News reports from late last week indicated that the Department had actually improperly removed 3,400 qualified voters. This is over 10 times more voters than initially announced, and the information comes less than two weeks before Election Day and more than a month after the start of early voting. The Department has indicated those affected voters’ records have been sent – and updated – to the local registrars who have then notified these voters via mail; however, it is not clear that these voters will receive the information they are reinstated in a timely manner. Further, the Department noted that 100 of the voters who were wrongly removed have yet to be reinstated and may not be notified of their reinstatement with sufficient time to cast a ballot in next month’s election.

As noted in our October 6 letter to you, these improper removals follow other troubling actions related to voting rights in the Commonwealth. Just last year, it was reported that “unspecified technical problems” created a backlog at the Department of Elections, and resulting in local registrars receiving 107,000 new voter records overnight just one month from the election, putting those applications at risk of not being processed in time for the elections. Later that month, after several Virginians tried to vote and were turned away, it was reported that the Department of Elections failed to pass along an additional 149,000 voting records.

Our concerns are further compounded by Virginia’s May 2023 exit from the bipartisan Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, which is a multistate program aimed at keeping voting rolls up to date. The removal came amid “fringe conservative media reports and conspiracy theories attempting to connect the group to liberal donors and activists.”

We reiterate our request that DOJ take immediate action to investigate how these removals happened and what is being done to ensure that those whose names were illegally removed from the voting rolls are informed in a timely and effective manner so that they are able to cast a vote in the November 7, 2023, Virginia election.

Thank you for your attention to our concerns. We look forward to your response.

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