What laws establish the process for removing voter registrations?
Can a voter registration be "removed" or "purged" for no reason?
No. State and federal law require that a registration can be cancelled only if:
- The voter requests that his or her registration be cancelled;
- The voter moved to another state;
- The voter is ineligible because he or she is currently in prison or jail due to a felony conviction;
- The voter dies; or
- The voter's registration status has been "inactive" through two federal (even-year) general elections.
In addition to these requirements, the law prohibits county clerks from cancelling voter registrations during the 90 day period before the election unless the voter requests the cancellation or the voter dies.
What does it mean if a voter registration status is "inactive?"
If a county clerk obtains information that a voter's address has changed (such as a ballot being returned as "undeliverable"), the clerk will send a forwardable letter asking the voter to confirm his or her address. Once the letter is sent, the voter is labeled as an "inactive" voter. An inactive voter is still registered to vote, and he or she can still sign petitions and vote in an election. However, mail ballots are not sent to inactive voters.
If a voter does not respond to the county clerk's letter and fails to vote in the last two federal elections (or any election held between those two elections), the county clerk may remove the voter from the registration rolls. This process is in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act and state law.
How can an inactive voter become active?
An inactive voter can return to active status by confirming his or her address with the county clerk or submitting a new voter registration or absentee ballot application.
Can a registration be cancelled if the voter does not vote?
No. A voter registration cannot be cancelled solely because the voter has failed to vote in an election.
I think my voter registration was cancelled -- how can I get more information?
Contact your county clerk for more information.