For Immediate Release:
Contact For More Information:
Andrea M. Gaines
ELECT Conducts Review of Voter Roll List Maintenance Practices
RICHMOND, VA – The Virginia Department of Elections has undertaken a review of its list maintenance processes and procedures in order to facilitate a seamless transition to a new statewide voter registration system while ensuring the success of the Virginia Election and Registration Information System (VERIS) in its remaining years. List maintenance is the ongoing process of updating voter information to ensure the accuracy of voter rolls.
“As Commissioner, one of the most important initiatives for the agency, the Administration, and the Commonwealth is the implementation of the new statewide voter registration system,” said Susan Beals, Department of Elections Commissioner. “While we remain focused on developing and implementing the new solution, it is equally as important that we continue to evaluate and update the current system to support the next two years of accurate, fair, open and secure elections for all citizens of the Commonwealth. This review will not only strengthen current operations but also optimize the design of the new system."
ELECT is conducting an analysis of all of its list maintenance practices and data handling procedures related to voter registration, as recommended by a 2018 Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission (JLARC) Report. As part of this project, ELECT is currently auditing data sharing practices between the department and other state agencies to improve processes for transmitting and handling information required under the Code of Virginia. The information ELECT collects includes data on noncitizens, felons, mentally incapacitated and deceased individuals who must be included on ELECT’s prohibited voter list, as well as DMV records from Virginia and other states which may indicate when a voter has moved.
This audit has already been beneficial in helping ELECT to increase the accuracy of its voter registration records. ELECT has identified 10,558 felons currently on the voter rolls in need of removal. These are individuals who had their rights restored following a felony and then were reconvicted of a felony and were not subsequently removed from the voter rolls. The original computer code written for the restoration of rights process did not provide for the instance in which an individual might be reconvicted of a felony following the restoration of their rights. ELECT has automated a solution to cancel these voters and add them back to the prohibited list. These records will begin populating in general registrars’ hoppers on Monday for cancellation at the local level.
ELECT is required under the Virginia code to conduct a match of the voter registration list against lists of deceased persons from two sources: the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Bureau of Vital Statistics at the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). The information from the SSA is received annually, while the information from VDH is received weekly. To ensure only accurate data is transferred into the new statewide voter registration system, ELECT is working with VDH to take the last 62 years of death data (dating back to 1960) and compare it against the current voter registration list to remove any deceased records which may have been missed.
For the first time, ELECT will also use USPS National Change of Address data to conduct two mailings in 2023 to voters who may have moved, another recommendation of the 2018 JLARC report. In previous years, ELECT has only conducted one such mailing a year. The National Change of Address mailing contacts voters who have submitted a change of address card and provides the opportunity to cancel or update their voter registration information.
As one of the first states in the country to introduce a centralized voter registration database, ELECT will continue to strengthen and revitalize current list maintenance practices, while bringing a new and improved statewide voter registration system to the citizens of the Commonwealth. ELECT’s annual list maintenance report, summarizing its ongoing efforts to update its voters rolls throughout the year, is posted to the website at elections.virginia.gov.