WHEELING The Weirton Daily Times (May 14, 2017) — Nearly 52,000 voter registrations in West Virginia have been removed from voter rolls since January, according to information reported by the West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office.
But Secretary of State Mac Warner said no eligible voter in the state has lost voting privileges.
“We’re not talking about removing people from the rolls,” he said. “We’ve just removed people’s names who shouldn’t be there.”
In West Virginia, there were 1,231,567 registered voters as of Tuesday. This figure reflects 51,728 registrations having been canceled thus far in 2017.
The state has a long history of unpurged voter rolls leading to criminal activity involving elections. Warner said in 2012, three West Virginia counties were identified as having more registered voters than recorded population — Lincoln, Marion and Boone counties. In the five years since, there have been intensive efforts to clean up the voting rolls by West Virginia’s county clerks.
“Why this is happening now is that I’m presenting more tools to them for cross referencing,” he said.
The purging of voter lists reduces the chances of voter fraud, and also improves voter turnout numbers, according to Warner.
Shortly after Warner took office on Jan. 17, his office obtained from the state Division of Corrections a list of 12,000 convicted felons in West Virginia who had lost their voting privileges. These lists were then passed on to local county clerks and election offices, who matched the names against their active voting lists over the next two weeks. This resulted in the first 1,196 registrations being canceled.
“This showed to us the willingness of the clerks to do the work.” Warner said. “Previously, they didn’t have this data provided to them.”
A second list given to the clerks from the Social Security Administration provided information regarding deaths in the state, and from this 5,851 names were removed from West Virginia voting rolls.
Clerks also have removed 44,681 outdated and inactive registrations from voter rolls. Cross-check systems now being used by the clerks allow them to check with as many as 38 other states to find duplicate registrations, and information also can be cross-referenced with other counties in West Virginia.