Congressional Democrats push DOJ to investigate voter purging in Virginia
WASHINGTON (CBS19 NEWS) -- Thousands of Virginians have had their voting rights allegedly restored after the Youngkin administration purged them from voter rolls.
Virginia Democrats are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Youngkin administration for the purge.
"People deserve to know why this has happened," said state Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25th).
The nearly 3,400 voters who were pulled from the voting rolls were felons who'd violated probation but were misclassified as having committed new felonies, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The Youngkin administration claimed it to be a "computing error."
The Virginia Democratic congressional delegation has sent a second letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland encouraging an investigation into the matter. Lawmakers first pressured the DOJ when they heard the initial reports of 270 previously convicted felons, who had already had their rights reinstated, being removed from the state's voter rolls.
"As recently as last week, we were still just talking about a handful of voters, now we find out there are 3,400 voters. Do we know that that's the actual number? That's the extent of the problem," said Deeds.
The letter signed by Senator Tim Kaine, Senator Mark Warner, Representative Abigail Spanberger, and a few other Democrats reads in part, "This is over 10 times more voters than initially announced, and the information comes less than two weeks before Election Day and more than a month after the start of early voting? We reiterate our request that DOJ take immediate action to investigate how these removals happened."
The situation has left Deeds disappointed. He hopes a solution will be found.
"It's sad and it's almost predictable, but we can do better. We have to do better as a society," he said.
According to the Department of Elections, people who mistakenly had their voting rights removed are starting to be reinstated. Election Day is Nov. 7.