Roll Call: Answering Questions about Voter Removal

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Recent challenges to voters listed on Wake County’s voter rolls had us wondering about who is removed when and why.

We contacted Veronica Degraffenreid, elections liaison for the North Carolina State Board of Elections to learn more about cleaning the voter rolls. Following are some of the questions we asked, along with answers given via e-mail by Degraffenreid or found in two documents she provided. You can view the full documents she provided at the end of the story.

How often are the voter rolls updated?
Daily. Both state and county election officials go through the process of cleaning the voter rolls. Counties must process new voters, change or update information on existing voters, and remove voters who are no longer qualified.

There are also some systematic processes that are conducted monthly, semi-annually, yearly and biennially.

Who is removed from the voter rolls?
According to the document “Maintaining the Voter Registration Database in North Carolina,” the State Board of Elections receives a list of convicted felons once a month from the N.C. Department of Corrections and a list of people who have died in the state each month from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Those voters are removed.

They also now work with the U.S. Postal Service to remove those who have confirmed a change of address out of the county.

In addition, county elections boards will remove inactive voters, but the rules for doing so are very specific, as outlined in the “Maintaining the Voter Registration Database in North Carolina” document:

“Every odd numbered year, county boards send a no-contact mailing to those voters from whom the county has had no contact for two federal election periods. Contact is not just based on whether the voter has voted, but may also, for example, be based on whether the voter has signed a petition, run for office, worked as a poll worker, or updated his or her address. If the no-contact mailing is returned undeliverable, then the county will send a forwardable address confirmation mailing to the voter.

If the voter does not return the confirmation mailing or if the mailing is returned undeliverable, then the voter is made inactive in the voter registration list. Inactive voters are still registered voters and have voting rights. They are inactive only because the county board is currently unable to verify their address. After two additional federal election cycles, if the county still has had no contact from the inactive voter, then the voter will be removed from the county’s voter registration list.”

What is voter fraud and how often does it occur?
There are different types of voter fraud: double voting; impersonation; voting when ineligible (non- U.S. citizen or currently serving an active felony sentence), voter registration issues or matters related to absentee voting. If someone is found to be fraudulent, the information is given to the District Attorney’s office.

Degraffenreid said the State Board of Elections does not keep data on the number of prosecutions, but provided this chart about the number of cases issued to the District Attorney.

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[media-credit name=”Provided by NC State Board of Elections” align=”aligncenter” width=”597″][/media-credit]How can residents help?
Residents can help by updating their voter records. If you move within the county, visit this section of the Board of Elections website and click on “change your address.” Download and fill out the form provided and return it to the elections office.

It’s also helpful to notify the election office when you move out of a county. If a relative dies, notify the elections board, especially if the death occurs out of state.

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