Author Topic: Inactive voter purge  (Read 1364 times)

TheDrake

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Inactive voter purge
« on: December 29, 2019, 03:15:02 PM »
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Until recently, Georgia law called for voters to be marked inactive if they failed to return a postcard following no voting activity or contact with election officials for three years. People who didn’t vote in two general elections after that would be cleared from the rolls.

There are activists up in arms about this being unfair, but I don't see it. We're talking about a registered voter who disappeared for a decade from exercising their right. They might have moved, died, or just gotten sick of voting. Unless there are people getting clipped for having the same name, I really don't see the uproar.

Pete at Home

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2019, 03:24:11 PM »
During GA's last general election, I received a "we know where you live" flyer stating that GA publishes the names and addresses of nonvoters, and that we would be held accountable if the black woman candidate for governor won over the white male one.  It sticks out in my mind because that usage of "held accountable" is more typically leftspeak terrorism.  So I tend to presume that any changes to who can vote in GA are Republican-written and malicious.

Crunch

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2019, 04:48:04 PM »
I think we all know why they’re in an uproar. Unused voter registrations are so convenient.

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2019, 05:32:48 PM »
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Until recently, Georgia law called for voters to be marked inactive if they failed to return a postcard following no voting activity or contact with election officials for three years. People who didn’t vote in two general elections after that would be cleared from the rolls.

There are activists up in arms about this being unfair, but I don't see it. We're talking about a registered voter who disappeared for a decade from exercising their right. They might have moved, died, or just gotten sick of voting. Unless there are people getting clipped for having the same name, I really don't see the uproar.

I think you need to explain why a non-voter has to seek to restore their voting franchise that they may have held for decades.  The only reason I can think of (Crunch's usual hardline anti-liberal view notwithstanding) is that if it is harder for them to vote, perhaps they won't bother.  Why would it behoove the state to do that?  Since illegal voting is extremely rare, it actually takes far more effort to take those people off the rolls that to risk having an illegal vote cast.

Crunch, here's another chance to explain your position beyond the usual buzzspeak. Go for it.

TheDrake

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2019, 06:09:32 PM »
I think there are a number of good reasons to purge rolls, including an accurate count of how many registered voters there really are. Consider stats on voter turnout, which are skewed of thousands of people who moved out of a community are still being counted. Sending jury duty notices to people who no longer live there are another one. I'm sure I could think of others.

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2019, 06:52:03 PM »
I think there are a number of good reasons to purge rolls, including an accurate count of how many registered voters there really are. Consider stats on voter turnout, which are skewed of thousands of people who moved out of a community are still being counted. Sending jury duty notices to people who no longer live there are another one. I'm sure I could think of others.

There are legitimate reasons to clean up voter rolls, but Georgia is notorious for rejecting voter registrations, or in this case re-registrations, for the most miniscule of reasons.  For instance, John H. Jones at 1 Main Street will be rejected if he has a driver's license naming him John Henry Jones at the same address.  This really is a ploy to remove eligible voters from the rolls in the hopes that they would be more likely to vote Democratic than Republican.  It will be interesting if reporting shows the Party tendencies of the voters who were removed.

TheDrake

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2019, 12:20:22 PM »
Some voter purges are indeed nefarious and an infringement on our fundamental right to representation. Inactives don't seem that way to me.

yossarian22c

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2019, 12:44:08 PM »
Some voter purges are indeed nefarious and an infringement on our fundamental right to representation. Inactives don't seem that way to me.

Voting rolls do need maintenance. Unfortunately how states do this has become another election tool in some states.

Depends on how inactive the voter has been. Getting purged for missing one national election seems extreme. Getting purged after not voting for 10 years seems reasonable. Different states have different criteria for when to purge and who should be removed. So without looking at the metrics a given state is using its tough to know. But from my knowledge of Georgia's voting system in general I tend to believe it is being used as a political tool (for voter suppression) instead of general good data management and governance. 

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2019, 02:20:15 PM »
It's the right of voters to vote, not their duty, especially if they are expected to do it in order to maintain their franchise.  Once you register to vote you should stay registered until some circumstance alters the elements of your registration.  Passive avoidance isn't a good justification. We should praise people for voting rather than punishing them for not doing it.  The only reasons I can think of are a change of address or legal change of name.  Otherwise your citizenship guarantees you access to the ballot box once you've reach legal age.  Who cares if anally retentive bureaucrats want to recover megabytes of storage on their infinite storage systems as a matter of convenience. 

Why is it that states with a preponderance of black voters are the ones who disproportionately deny voting rights to felons once they've served their sentences and remove others for simply not voting?  Florida, Georgia and North Carolina are good examples.  Maine and Massachusetts also purge a lot of voters, but let them re-register and vote on election day. In somewhat of a surprise, I think Indiana purges voters at the highest rate - 22% from 2016-2018, often for spurious and unfair reasons, including finding someone with the same name and birthdate registered in another state.  As for that, I went to my bank this morning and was told that there are 5 other people with my same name; nationally, I have discovered that there are several hundred.  That law is being challenged in court and will likely be overturned or significantly rolled back.

TheDeamon

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2019, 02:37:19 PM »
Depends on how inactive the voter has been. Getting purged for missing one national election seems extreme. Getting purged after not voting for 10 years seems reasonable. Different states have different criteria for when to purge and who should be removed. So without looking at the metrics a given state is using its tough to know. But from my knowledge of Georgia's voting system in general I tend to believe it is being used as a political tool (for voter suppression) instead of general good data management and governance.

2 general elections is two federal elections. So you're talking about possibly 4 to 6 years since that person possibly last lived in that district, depending on what they last voted on.

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2019, 02:38:17 PM »
It could be four years and a smattering of days since they voted and failed to respond to the postcard.  Hell, your REI membership is still good if you use it for the first time in 15 years.

TheDrake

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2019, 04:19:59 PM »
You have to pay your bills once a month. You have to register your car once every year or two. You have to buy a bus pass once a month. You have to show up at the unemployment office regularly to continue to get benefits. If almost any person let their life go to seed, everything would quickly fall apart. Is it really such a burden to use their vote or to refresh by sending back a prepaid postcard? The most contrary example I can think of would be homeless people, the mentally ill, and coma patients.

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2019, 05:09:22 PM »
I'm always welcome at Kroger, REI, Binny's Beverage Depot and a host of other places I don't often frequent.  They're especially pleased when I come back after a long absence.  No, it's not so hard to send back a pre-paid postcard, but it's a lot more work to send them out.  So what if I don't vote (I haven't missed a federal election since 1968)?  According to the Constitution my franchise doesn't have an expiration date, and I shouldn't have to run around to regain it if I fail to notice or fail to return a damn postcard.

TheDrake

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2019, 06:25:36 PM »
I'm always welcome at Kroger, REI, Binny's Beverage Depot and a host of other places I don't often frequent.  They're especially pleased when I come back after a long absence.  No, it's not so hard to send back a pre-paid postcard, but it's a lot more work to send them out.  So what if I don't vote (I haven't missed a federal election since 1968)?  According to the Constitution my franchise doesn't have an expiration date, and I shouldn't have to run around to regain it if I fail to notice or fail to return a damn postcard.

According to that hardline logic you shouldn't even have to register because, hey it's my RIGHT! I shouldn't have to fill out some FORM to exercise my franchise!

Comparing government activity to retail is comical, and not worth discussing.

One issue here, is what if I moved out of one community, forgot about it, then really wanted to vote for President? Okay, I might not even think I'm doing anything wrong, I'll just go to my old precinct. Then I vote straight ticket and warp all the state legislature results - ones that are particularly sensitive to small amounts of votes. Then maybe I click off some county ballot measures while I'm about it. No concern about that whatsoever?

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2019, 09:52:37 PM »
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According to that hardline logic you shouldn't even have to register because, hey it's my RIGHT! I shouldn't have to fill out some FORM to exercise my franchise!

I think in South Dakota you don't need to register.

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One issue here, is what if I moved out of one community, forgot about it, then really wanted to vote for President? Okay, I might not even think I'm doing anything wrong, I'll just go to my old precinct. Then I vote straight ticket and warp all the state legislature results - ones that are particularly sensitive to small amounts of votes. Then maybe I click off some county ballot measures while I'm about it. No concern about that whatsoever?

I think I said that change of address is a legitimate reason for someone to be removed from the rolls in their old precinct.  You can't prevent stupid, just defend against it.  A simple solution to your scenario would be to automatically register a person in the precinct that they moved *to* and notify the precinct of their previous address to remove them.

Pete at Home

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2019, 10:20:14 PM »
Why is it that states with a preponderance of black voters are the ones who disproportionately deny voting rights to felons once they've served their sentences and remove others for simply not voting?  Florida, Georgia and North Carolina are good examples. 

Having lived recently with felons I am absolutely cool with disfranchising them for a decade, nevertheless your point about state racial patterns is spot on.

TheDeamon

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2019, 02:53:28 AM »
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One issue here, is what if I moved out of one community, forgot about it, then really wanted to vote for President? Okay, I might not even think I'm doing anything wrong, I'll just go to my old precinct. Then I vote straight ticket and warp all the state legislature results - ones that are particularly sensitive to small amounts of votes. Then maybe I click off some county ballot measures while I'm about it. No concern about that whatsoever?

I think I said that change of address is a legitimate reason for someone to be removed from the rolls in their old precinct.  You can't prevent stupid, just defend against it.  A simple solution to your scenario would be to automatically register a person in the precinct that they moved *to* and notify the precinct of their previous address to remove them.

That is a reasonable enough proposition. Write your representative and see what can be done to pursue that intra-state and possible try to get an inter-state compact for sharing such information. Should be "straightforward enough" in that when someone registers to vote somewhere else, they have a section on the form to specify if they were registered to vote at any location previously and where that place was. So they can contact that location to see about removing them from the rolls.

As it is, that kind of communication doesn't happen. It is left up to the voter to contact the location they previously registered to have their name removed. Something most people don't do.

Not much of an issue if you just move within the county, or often just within the state, as some states do have tracking mechanisms in place, but the moment you cross a state line? You're a ghost.

Crunch

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #17 on: December 31, 2019, 08:33:00 AM »
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Until recently, Georgia law called for voters to be marked inactive if they failed to return a postcard following no voting activity or contact with election officials for three years. People who didn’t vote in two general elections after that would be cleared from the rolls.

There are activists up in arms about this being unfair, but I don't see it. We're talking about a registered voter who disappeared for a decade from exercising their right. They might have moved, died, or just gotten sick of voting. Unless there are people getting clipped for having the same name, I really don't see the uproar.

I think you need to explain why a non-voter has to seek to restore their voting franchise that they may have held for decades.  The only reason I can think of (Crunch's usual hardline anti-liberal view notwithstanding) is that if it is harder for them to vote, perhaps they won't bother.  Why would it behoove the state to do that?  Since illegal voting is extremely rare, it actually takes far more effort to take those people off the rolls that to risk having an illegal vote cast.

Crunch, here's another chance to explain your position beyond the usual buzzspeak. Go for it.

I appreciate you asking for my thoughts on this.

GA requires you register to vote. You can register when you apply for or renew your drivers license(ID is required to vote in GA). If you don’t have ID or are not on the voter role, you can cast a provisional vote then go and get things cleared up with your county officials and have your vote properly counted. So, in the end, nobody that wants to vote is denied the opportunity.

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #18 on: December 31, 2019, 09:14:59 AM »
Thanks for filling in the information that shows how someone can get back something that between 100,000 - 200,000 voters in the past 3 years never should have lost in the first place.

yossarian22c

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2019, 10:16:36 AM »
Thanks for filling in the information that shows how someone can get back something that between 100,000 - 200,000 voters in the past 3 years never should have lost in the first place.

Don't be an absolutist on this. Often times the reason people haven't voted in a decade is because they have moved out of state, died, or are otherwise ineligible (or unwilling to vote). Maintaining a good and accurate database shouldn't be partisan. I do understand your concerns because this process has been weaponized politically in many places. But it doesn't mean places should never remove a voter from the roles, unless you want to make it the responsibility of people to "unregister" to vote when they move, die, or become incapacitated in some way.

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #20 on: December 31, 2019, 10:57:58 AM »
I've already said that there are legitimate reasons to remove someone from the voter rolls.  The problems with encouraging the practice are targeting and needless pruning.  Nobody has offered a good reason why someone should be removed if they haven't moved or changed their name (or become ineligible).  In many states, voters have to register in advance of the election day and aren't notified if their names have been removed, so they only find out they can't vote when they show up at the polling station. Protecting the ballot from fraud is not a good enough reason, since every study I've seen has shown that voter fraud is rare.  Laziness or not having a candidate you support in consecutive elections is hardly a good enough reason.

I mentioned earlier that it wouldn't be a massive effort to keep the rolls fairly clean to handle situations when someone moves out of their voting area.  The state knows if you were or have become ineligible.

Instead, we should be encouraging people to register and vote.  There are lots of good ideas for how to increase turnout in state and national elections that simply aren't being implemented widely or at all.  They include, but aren't limited to, using RCV (Ranked Choice Voting) to encourage people to vote their conscience and a fallback candidate, same day registration using the same id that is required to register in advance, PSA's, unrestricted absentee voting, extended voting periods, making an official election day a state or national holiday, providing free public transportation to polling stations, better distribution of voting machines, longer hours on election day, etc...

Nobody would complain about any of those things being offered to them and more people would vote.

Crunch

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #21 on: December 31, 2019, 10:59:18 AM »
Thanks for filling in the information that shows how someone can get back something that between 100,000 - 200,000 voters in the past 3 years never should have lost in the first place.

They never lost it.  ::)

TheDrake

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #22 on: December 31, 2019, 11:34:27 AM »
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One issue here, is what if I moved out of one community, forgot about it, then really wanted to vote for President? Okay, I might not even think I'm doing anything wrong, I'll just go to my old precinct. Then I vote straight ticket and warp all the state legislature results - ones that are particularly sensitive to small amounts of votes. Then maybe I click off some county ballot measures while I'm about it. No concern about that whatsoever?

I think I said that change of address is a legitimate reason for someone to be removed from the rolls in their old precinct.  You can't prevent stupid, just defend against it.  A simple solution to your scenario would be to automatically register a person in the precinct that they moved *to* and notify the precinct of their previous address to remove them.

That is a reasonable enough proposition. Write your representative and see what can be done to pursue that intra-state and possible try to get an inter-state compact for sharing such information. Should be "straightforward enough" in that when someone registers to vote somewhere else, they have a section on the form to specify if they were registered to vote at any location previously and where that place was. So they can contact that location to see about removing them from the rolls.

As it is, that kind of communication doesn't happen. It is left up to the voter to contact the location they previously registered to have their name removed. Something most people don't do.

Not much of an issue if you just move within the county, or often just within the state, as some states do have tracking mechanisms in place, but the moment you cross a state line? You're a ghost.

In most states, if you drive, you are going to get registered in your new location. But they don't delete your old location, I think. Plus I know people who have lived for years without getting license and registration moved current.

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #23 on: December 31, 2019, 12:11:47 PM »
Thanks for filling in the information that shows how someone can get back something that between 100,000 - 200,000 voters in the past 3 years never should have lost in the first place.

They never lost it.  ::)

Here's one article saying they did : https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/28/federal-judge-will-not-reverse-georgias-decision-purge-voters/

You have one saying otherwise?

TheDeamon

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #24 on: December 31, 2019, 12:15:42 PM »
Thanks for filling in the information that shows how someone can get back something that between 100,000 - 200,000 voters in the past 3 years never should have lost in the first place.

They never lost it.  ::)

Here's one article saying they did : https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/12/28/federal-judge-will-not-reverse-georgias-decision-purge-voters/

You have one saying otherwise?

Being removed from the registration roles != loss of the right to vote. It simply means they have to restore the registration for their vote to be counted.

Pete at Home

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #25 on: December 31, 2019, 12:18:58 PM »
https://newrepublic.com/article/154618/new-american-homeless-housing-insecurity-richest-cities

If you count couch surfers like me, the homeless rate is about four times as high as it’s officially been measured. This new republic article describes our situation. What’s my voting district?  Depends on if whether the schizophrenic I paid $350 to stay in his house for a month feels like having me around that day.  His friends steal my mail for fraud purposes.  And as the TNR article says, my situation is hardly unique. Check it out.

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As a longtime renter, Goodman was acquainted with the capriciousness of Atlanta’s housing market. She knew how easily the house could slip away. Seeking to avoid this outcome, she ensured that her rent checks were never late and, despite her exhausting work schedule, became a stickler for cleanliness. So strong was her fear of being deemed a “difficult” tenant that she avoided requesting basic repairs.


I lived 7 months in my apartment after the ceiling collapsed awaiting repairs until the bastard landowner (a mayoral candidate believe it or not) raised my rent. Then I entered the world of subletting a room from the insane.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 12:24:15 PM by Pete at Home »

Kasandra

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #26 on: December 31, 2019, 04:07:11 PM »
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Being removed from the registration roles != loss of the right to vote. It simply means they have to restore the registration for their vote to be counted.

You're right.  I was conflating right with ability.  Felons, OTOH, are denied their right to vote in many states, sometimes for life, sometimes only if the crime involved "moral turpitude".

D.W.

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Re: Inactive voter purge
« Reply #27 on: January 02, 2020, 09:17:28 AM »
You remove inactive voters from the roles when you are terrified that THIS election and/or THIS candidate may make an otherwise apathetic voter get off their ass and take action. 

If you really wanted to "clean up" the roles looking for dead or relocated people there are ways to do so that don't involved, "We'll just drop them and see if they show up to re-register!"

The answer:  it is ALWAYS voter suppression.  It's a recognized, and occasionally admitted, strategy.