THE HILL, JULIE MUELLER
Virginia’s Democratic members of Congress are pushing for the Justice Department (DOJ) to investigate whether Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) administration violated the Voting Rights Act after reports that eligible voters were removed from the state’s voter rolls.
Democratic Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and the state’s six Democratic House lawmakers are asking for “immediate action” from the DOJ to probe the “purging of voter rolls.”
They’re also stressing the urgency of an investigation, as early voting in the state has already begun for elections in November of this year.
In Virginia, anyone convicted of a felony automatically loses their right to vote unless it’s restored by the governor — but reports around the removals from the voter rolls say Virginians without felony convictions were taken off the list.
A letter from the lawmakers to Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Virginia Department of Elections acknowledged earlier this month “that it removed more than 10,000 individuals who have had their rights restored from voter rolls over the past nine months without notice.”
“This includes an unknown number of individuals with technical probation violations, not new felony convictions, who have been purged from voter rolls without notice after having their rights fully restored,” the letter continues.
Macaulay Porter, a spokesperson for the governor, told The Hill that Youngkin’s office ordered a review and asked state police to correct the process once it became aware of the “inconsistencies regarding the misclassification of probation violations as felonies.”
“While analysis is still ongoing, we are aware of fewer than 300 voters who were impacted and those individuals are being reinstated. The governor is committed to ensuring those that are eligible, can vote,” Porter said.
The Virginia Department of Elections told 13NewsNow that the lawmakers’ letter incorrectly claimed that voters were removed “without notice.”
The Hill has reached out to the Virginia Department of Elections and Youngkin’s office for comment.
The new letter to Garland follows calls last week from Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) for a DOJ investigation, as reported by Axios.