Who Votes After Their Registration is Cancelled? Evidence from North Carolina

24 August 2020, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


Voter list maintenance has received increasing attention in the press and from advocacy groups in the past few years. Little scholarly work, however, has detailed who is removed - or “purged” - despite no change in their legal eligibility to vote. By leveraging voter registration and provisional ballot data from North Carolina we identify individuals who were removed from the rolls between 2010 and 2016 despite no apparent change in their eligibility to vote and cast a provisional ballot in the 2016 presidential election. Although we find that minority voters were less likely than white voters to be removed overall, they were significantly more likely to cast a provisional ballot after being removed. Minorities who voted after being removed were also substantially less likely to have their provisional ballots counted than white voters. This paper presents the first evidence that imprecise voter list maintenance might disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color.


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