WASHINGTON, D.C.—Republican proposals to purge voters from the rolls could disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters across the country, according to a new investigation by Bloomberg News. State legislatures are considering over 50 bills that would aggressively remove voters from the rolls, in furtherance of Republican conspiracies of election fraud and their promotion of the Big Lie. Such legislation culls the rolls in a myriad of ways, including checking rolls against death, criminal, DMV and immigration records. But these other official records are not meant to be used for election administration, and are structured in ways that would incorrectly disenfranchise eligible voters who are most often poor or people of color.
Mistakes are common with these kinds of purges: in Arkansas, more than 7,000 people were incorrectly listed as felons in 2016, and Texas’ drivers licence data incorrectly marked 25,000 people as non-citizens in 2019. Wisconsin mistakenly marked 46,000 voters as having moved addresses in 2017. Eligible voters who find they have been removed from the rolls are asked to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day, which has a lower chance of being counted in the final tally. Election vote margins, especially in swing states, are consistently small, and this excessive and inaccurate purging could change the results of the next election in Republicans’ favor.