3,400 voters reinstated following mishap, ACLU demands transparency

Thousands of Virginians mistakenly removed from the voter rolls have now been reinstated.
Published: Oct. 31, 2023 at 5:47 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Thousands of Virginians mistakenly removed from the voter rolls have now been reinstated.

Voting rights advocates now demand answers as to why and how this happened.

Approximately 3,400 felons who had their voting rights restored were wrongly barred from voting in the last month or so.

We now know where the error lies: all of these people had probation violations that mistakenly counted as new felonies.

“There was a visceral response of anger and disappointment, in not just the administration, but in just the democratic process in general,” ACLU Policy Strategist Shawn Weneta said.

Weneta says this voter mishap came to light after those with prior felony convictions came forward after being turned away at the polls.

He says the ACLU confronted the Department of Elections and the Youngkin administration about it.

“At first, they said the problem didn’t exist. Then, they said about 270 people or less than 300 and now it’s more than 3,400,” Weneta said. “They’re still refusing to be transparent with voters about how the error happened. They’re still refusing to be transparent about how many people it actually was, who they were, and also what they’re doing to notify these people.”

While the issue has been resolved, Weneta says the damage is done, as it interfered with the democratic process and limited access to early voting.

“These people have missed out on over 30 days of early voting. It’s also an equity issue just based on that,” Weneta said. “The chilling effect of this is happening is people are have been prevented from early voting and probably don’t want to go back.”

Gov. Youngkin called on the state inspector general to investigate this matter.

NBC12 reached out to the Department of Elections for comment but did not receive a response.

Democrats and voting rights activists are planning a rally at the Capitol Bell Tower on Wednesday at 11 a.m. to demand answers.