Voter purge put off in Texas

Oct. 4, 2012 at 3:07 PM
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AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Alive-and-well voters in Texas can rest easier after a legal settlement averted a purge of voter rolls for some "potentially deceased" people.

Lawyers for four voters prevailed in their attempt to prevent Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade from instituting a policy that would have required voters to prove they were alive to remain on the voter registration roll after a computer check matched the last four digits of their Social Security and birthday to death records.

Andrade instructed Texas county election boards to contact the "potentially deceased" voters in question -- about 80,000 in total -- by mail to notify them a records check found they might have died, the Austin American-Statesman reported. If the voters didn't response to the letter in 30 days, they were to be automatically purged from the rolls.

Under terms of the settlement, the burden of proof will shift from the individual voter to the state to show someone has died and should be removed from the rolls.

"No one is going to get purged just because they don't respond to a letter," said David Richards, a lawyer for the four voters.

County election workers will now have to conduct an individual review of each of the "potentially deceased" voters to verify whether or not they are still alive. Until the information can be confirmed, the names will remain on voter rolls, the newspaper reported.

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