WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Filed Under:

Who's An 'Inactive' Voter? Checking In On Virginia's Voter Registration Rules

Play associated audio

Voters in Virginia have about six weeks left to update their registration if they have moved, because those who have moved and failed to update their registration risk being turned away from the polls.

It happens after every federal election: thousands of voters are purged from the rolls because they are inactive voters.

"We don't carry inactive voters indefinitely," says Tom Parkins, general registrar in Alexandria. "Once an inactive voter does not show any activity or any voting for two federal elections, then they get deleted from the list."

But being an inactive voter doesn't always have anything to do with how frequently you cast a ballot. It could also mean that elections officials have some reason to believe that a voter no longer lives at the address they have on file — because a piece of mail they sent to an address was returned, for example.

People who have moved risk not being able to vote in November.

"If I move from Alexandria to Fairfax prior to the election in 2010 and I come back to my precinct in Alexandria, I'm not going to be eligible to vote," Parkins says. "A voter is inactivated when we have some indication that that voter may have moved.

Being deemed inactive, or being deleted from the list, generally means voters are unable to cast a ballot. These voters are sometimes allowed to cast a provisional ballot, but it's unlikely that the ballot will count, Parkins says. 

That's why all voters who have moved since the 2010 election should make sure that their registration has their current address. The deadline for updating voter registration is Monday, Oct. 15.

WAMU 88.5

Anne Tyler: "A Spool Of Blue Thread" (Rebroadcast)

In her first live radio interview ever, Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Tyler joins Diane to talk about her 20th novel, "A Spool of Blue Thread."


Fine Brine From Appalachia: The Fancy Mountain Salt That Chefs Prize

An artisanal salt producer is processing brine from ancient ocean deposits below West Virgina's mountains. The company, J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works, ships to top chefs who value the salt's minerality.

Downed Russian Warplane Highlights Regional Divide On Syria

Hugh Pope, director of communications and outreach at the International Crisis Group in Brussels, explains the growing divide between Turkey and Russia on their priorities inside Syria.

From Takeout To Breakups: Apps Can Deliver Anything, For A Price

Convenience is at an all-time premium — and a lot of smartphone apps promise to make many of the things we do every day easier. In a time-crunch or sheer laziness, how far will the apps take us?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.