Maintaining/Purging the List of Registers Voters

the Virginia Department of Elections updates its centralized VERIS database monthly
the Virginia Department of Elections updates its centralized VERIS database monthly
Source: Virginia Department of Elections, Annual List Maintenance Report, September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021 (Appendix A, p.10)

Local registrars, not the Virginia Department of Elections, have the responsibility to maintain the list of registered voters for a particular jurisdiction. At the state level, the Virginia Department of Elections maintains a centralized database of voters, the Voter and Election Registration Information System (VERIS). The day before the November 2021 election, the state agency had 5,951,353 registered voters in the database.

The Virginia Department of Elections provides information to the local registrars so they can remove ineligible voters from the rolls, and submits an Annual List Maintenance Report to the Privileges and Elections committees in the House of Delegates and State Senate.

Virginia is a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center ("ERIC"), a multi-state partnership for voter file list maintenance. When a new resident in one of the member and registers to vote in another state and reports that they have moved from Virginia, the Virginia Department of Elections is notified.

The state agency also conducts an annual address match with the United States Postal Service's National Change of Address (NCOA) system to identify when a voter has moved. A forwardable letter with a postage prepaid envelope is sent to voters who have requested a change of address, requesting confirmation that they are still eligible to vote in Virginia or if they wish to cancel their voter registration:1

Voters who respond to the mailing within 30 days and confirm that their place of residence has not changed or that their new address is in Virginia remain on the voter registration list as active, Virginia-registered voters.

Voters who do not respond to the notice within 30 days or whose confirmation mailing is returned as undeliverable are then classified as "Inactive" on the voter registration file. Voters identified as such will be removed from the voter registration list if the voter fails to either vote or update their voter registration over a period of two federal general elections (2 to 4 years). Voters who have been designated as "Inactive" by the process outlined above may still cast a ballot on Election Day. The voter must have their eligible voting status verified by the general registrar, sign a statement declaring that they are a qualified and registered voter of the precinct at which they are present, and be added to the pollbook by officers of election.

By sending letters to voters who have moved, Virginia can purge ineligible voters and maintain a more up-to-date list before the process is triggered for failure to vote:2

From September 1, 2020 - August 31, 2021, approximately 293,894 voters were mailed a cancellation request mailer at their out-of-state address. Approximately 114,898 voters were cancelled after registering to vote in another state during this reporting period.

Clerks of the Circuit Courts notify the Virginia Department of Elections of all individuals who were adjudicated mentally incapacitated. Between September 2020-August 2021, registrations for 589 voters were cancelled by general registrars who were notified of such determinations. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) sends a list to the Virginia Department of Elections of all individuals who obtained a drivers licenses and also responded "No" when asked if they were a citizen. Between September 2020-August 2021, voter registration was cancelled for 1,302 people who had registered to vote but who had also declared themselves to be non-citizens.

Voters who die are deleted from the voter rolls. Families rarely notify local general registrars, but the Virginia Department of Elections uses multiple methods to identify deceased voters. The centralized database of voters is matched regularly against the list of deceased persons maintained by the Social Security Administration, a monthly report from the Bureau of Vital Statistics of the Virginia Department of Health, and reports from the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC). Between September 1, 2020-August 31, 2021, Virginia cancelled registrations for 55,340 deceased voters.

If a person is convicted of a felony, they automatically lose the right to vote in Virginia. The Virginia State Police maintain a Central Criminal Record Exchange (CCRE), which provides monthly reports of new convictions in the state court system to the Virginia Department of Elections. The U.S. Attorney's Offices provide updates of felony convictions in Federal courts. The Virginia Department of Elections then notifies general registrars. Between September 2020-August 2021, 5,569 voters were removed from the rolls after a felony conviction. In the same time period, 32,398 people who had completed their sentences were registered to vote after having their rights restored by the Governor.3

Just before the November 2021 election, the Virginia Department of Elections identified 14 jurisdictions with over 100,000 voters each:4

  1. Fairfax County - 778,821
  2. Virginia Beach City - 322,201
  3. Prince William County - 306,024
  4. Loudoun County - 284,150
  5. Chesterfield County - 262,877
  6. Henrico County - 236,959
  7. Chesapeake City - 172,510
  8. Arlington County - 170,577
  9. Richmond City - 157,982
  10. Norfolk City - 137,339
  11. Newport News City - 122,231
  12. Alexandria City - 108,068
  13. Stafford County - 107,170
  14. Spotsylvania County - 101,825

Just 10 jurisdictions reported having less than 5,000 voters each:5

  1. Highland County - 1,890
  2. Norton City - 2,541
  3. Bath County - 3,301
  4. Covington City - 3,805
  5. Emporia City - 3,956
  6. Craig County - 3,960
  7. Galax City - 3,969
  8. Lexington City - 4,143
  9. Buena Vista City - 4,327
  10. Bland County - 4,513

Disfranchising Convicted Felons and Restoring Their Right to Vote

Electoral Boards, General Registrars, and the Election Process

Voting in Modern Virginia

Links

References

1. "Registration Statistics and Polling Places," Virginia Department of Elections, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/resultsreports/registration-statistics/index.html; "Annual List Maintenance Report, September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021," Virginia Department of Elections, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/maintenance-reports/ELECT-Annual-List-Maintenance-Report-2021-Final.pdf (last checked December 16, 2021)
2. "Annual List Maintenance Report, September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021," Virginia Department of Elections, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/maintenance-reports/ELECT-Annual-List-Maintenance-Report-2021-Final.pdf (last checked December 16, 2021)
3. "Annual List Maintenance Report, September 1, 2020 – August 31, 2021," Virginia Department of Elections, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/maintenance-reports/ELECT-Annual-List-Maintenance-Report-2021-Final.pdf (last checked December 16, 2021)
4. "2021 Registration Statistics - Locality Statistics, November 2021," Virginia Department of Elections, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/resultsreports/registration-statistics/2021-registration-statistics/ (last checked December 16, 2021)
5. "2021 Registration Statistics - Locality Statistics, November 2021," Virginia Department of Elections, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/resultsreports/registration-statistics/2021-registration-statistics/ (last checked December 16, 2021)


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