Group tries to restore legitimate voters to voting rolls

A group is trying to get as many legitimate voters back on rolls as they can. // WSBT 22 photo

With only three months until the May primary, the struggle is on to return purged voters to the rolls in St. Joseph County.

Since the presidential election, the state has purged nearly half a million voters.

That has Democrats crying foul.

They believe minorities were disproportionately targeted.

A group is now trying to get as many legitimate voters back on those rolls as they can.

The group is called Register Your Right St. Joseph County and in their words, they want to "re-register every purged voter" in the county.

Volunteers concerned that people's right to vote has been stripped without their knowledge, came together Thursday at the Democratic Headquarters in downtown South Bend.

They're discussing how voter purging is impacting local voters.

“One of the main things that comes with the cancellation of voters is they're not notified that they're canceled. So a lot of the times, what's going to happen is they're going to show up at the polls on election day and they're going to realize that they're canceled and they had no idea that they had been canceled from the rolls,” said Arielle Brandy, Register Your Right St. Joseph County.

In 2017, 28,000 St. Joseph County voters were removed from voting rolls.

In South Bend 11,000 voters were purged from the registration. District one and District 4 saw the highest numbers. WSBT 22 spoke to one voter who says she wants to go door to door to help encourage others to get out and vote.

"We're here to learn what we have to do to get out there and talk to voters who have been purged from the files,” said Coleen Hoover, voter.

Volunteer Rachel Wallace says there's a process that happens before removing voters.

"If you don't vote within two general cycles you will be receiving a post card in the mail that asks you to kind of update and say like you know is this still the right address? Are you still planning on voting? All of those things. If you don't return that's when you're at risk of being purged,” said Wallace.

Wallace says there's not a lot of education around what happens after you register to vote.

But they're making sure local voters known what steps to take.

"We're trying to raise awareness early so that people are prepared to make that vote. Not only a vote but an educated vote. You can just tell everyone to do so as well,” said Wallace.

WSBT 22 reached out to St. Joseph County Republican Chairman Lynn Fitzpatrick.

She says she's comfortable with the process at voter registration.

If you would like to find out if your name was purged from registration, click here.

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