Voter purging may cause concern

September 25th is National Voter Registration Day, and Bruce Drury is concerned about young voters. So he volunteered, and registered more than 600 students at Lamar University.

"I'm certain that just the act of registering will cause them to get more interested, especially for the ones we registered, this will be their first opportunity to vote," Drury said Tuesday afternoon.

But he's also concerned about voter purge, or removing registered voters from the county database who are believed to be dead.

Drury recalls recent problems with voter purge in neighboring counties, "In Harris County and Travis County, some of the people who were purged were still around!"

The Jefferson County Voter Registrar's Office has already sent out nearly 700 letters to suspected deceased voters.

The office has gotten about 300 of those letters back, about two thirds of which were returned because of a bad address, as that person no longer lives there.

Eighty of the returned letters confirmed the person had died, and almost 30 confirmed they were still alive. Jefferson county is aware of the problems with purging seen in Harris County...and says it's making sure the same doesn't happen here.

Jefferson County Voter Registrar Shane Howard says of the approach his office is taking to purging: "It's empathetic, it's also looking at the law and applying it in a way that it's intending to be applied, which is to keep a good clean roll, and not at the expense of inadvertently disenfranchising someone."

Howard says there's no need for someone like Drury to worry, saying, "We're very careful, we already treated everything as a weak match, and we're not rushing to remove people from the roll."



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