Report fears potential 'partisan manipulation' in voter purges
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday October 1, 2008

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It is normal for states to periodically review lists of voters and remove any who have moved, died, or been convicted of felonies. However, with no national standards to control this process, it has become "chaotic," "riddled with inaccuracies," and "vulnerable to manipulation" for partisan purposes.

Those are the conclusions of a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice obtained by CBS News. Brennan Center Executive Director Michael Waldman told CBS, "Officials are making tons of errors, and it's all happening in secret, without public accountability."

One problem that has previously been noted is that some voters are being improperly removed from the rolls because of clerical errors or small mismatches in names or addresses and may not even find out until they show up and attempt to vote.

However, in addition to accidental errors, there is also a possibility of voter purges being used selectively to target minorities or other groups for partisan purposes. "We don't know all the problems, but we know that there's a huge potential for partisan mischief," Waldman stated.

Although exact figures are difficult to obtain, the report notes that one election official in Mississippi was recently found to have purged 10,000 voters "from her home computer." Another 21,000 voters have been purged in Louisiana.

Increasing the concerns, another study cited by CBS has found that "nineteen states are ignoring a federal law banning systematic purges within 90 days of a federal election."

Blogger Brad Friedman comments, "So CBS News has noticed. Where the hell are the Democrats, and why aren't they raising holy hell about all of this stuff everywhere. ... In the meantime, the Republicans are out with phony 'reports' and lawsuits damned near every day --- and not just on Fox 'News' --- declaring 'evidence' of completely non-existant 'voter fraud' by "Democrats". Yet, in the meantime, the Dems continue to bring a knife to a gunfight, and, as we've noted many times of late ... seem to have no clue that they are in a War on Democracy being waged by their GOP opponenents."

CBS News has more details here.

This video is from CBS' Evening News, broadcast September 30, 2008.

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