Voter rolls drop 1.6 million names
Albany | Jokes about people voting early and often aside, some 1.6 million names are being removed from New York's voting rolls by Election Day — a loss of 14 percent of the state's previous tally of 12 million voters.
The removals, in which people are purged because they've died or moved from their listed address or simply become inactive, may be the largest sweep of registration records in recent memory, according to an elections watchdog.
"There's really for the first time a wholesale statewide effort going on to remove voters from the rolls," said Bo Lipari, director of New Yorkers for Verified Voting, a group which is policing the state's halting efforts to modernize voting machines.
Lipari stressed that the effort is legitimate, since people who have died or relocated shouldn't be registered to vote in their old districts.
The mass purging is a little-known result of the 2002 Help America Vote Act, which is best-known for requiring every state to adopt modern electronic voting machines. New York remains under a federal court order because of its grindingly slow pace in embracing the new technology.
HAVA also requires that counties, which maintain voter registration lists, coordinate that work with the state Board of Elections to prevent possible duplication or other mix-ups, said Board of Elections spokesman Bob Brehm. That work has been going on since last year.
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