A federal judge is rejecting a request from Virginia Democrats who wanted the State Board of Elections to reinstate nearly 40,000 voters who were recently purged from the voter rolls.
Judge Claude Hilton of Alexandria says he believes elections officials across the state conducted the purge uniformly, adding that anyone wrongly purged could cast a provisional ballot.
Local registrars conducted the purge on orders from the Virginia State Board of Elections, based on a database that identified voters registered in more than one state. But the Democratic Party of Virginia says the list used to conduct the purge was riddled with errors, and different standards were applied by different counties.
University of Mary Washington professor Stephen Farnsworth says Democrats have a right — and a duty — to challenge voter purges.
"Given what happened in Florida in 2000, Democrats wouldn't be doing their job if they were not looking very carefully at any voter purge efforts that are underway in Virginia or other states," says Farnsworth.
Elections officials say they conducted the purge carefully and that it was necessary to prevent ineligible voters from casting ballots.