Who's An 'Inactive' Voter? Checking In On Virginia's Voter Registration Rules | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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.

NPR

MK Asante's Poem 'In Summer' Honors Paul Laurence Dunbar

MK Asante reads a poem composed for Morning Edition titled, "In Summer." The Baltimore-based writer says it is in tribute to Paul Laurence Dunbar, an African-American poet.
NPR

Mugs Aren't Just For Liquids, Make A Microwave Meal In Them

David Greene swaps recipes for cooking in a mug with Joe Yonan, author of the "Cooking for One" column for The Washington Post. (This piece initially aired on Feb. 25, 2013 on Morning Edition.)
NPR

It Might Sound Stupid, But Maybe It Isn't The Economy This Time

An oft-repeated bit of campaign advice held that, "It's the economy, stupid." But maybe in this mid-term election cycle, that's not quite right.
NPR

X Prize Competition Could Make 'Tricorder' A Reality

Many Star Trek gadgets have made the journey from science fiction to real life. Arun Rath talks to Grant Campany about the X Prize Foundation's competition to bring the medical tricorder to life.

Leave a Comment

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