I was hoping to the Secretary of State’s office could break down the list of voters purged from the active voting rolls over the summer by party affiliation. That way we could determine whether the substantially greater decrease in Democratic registration compared to Republican and independent registration was a result of the Republican Secretary of State striking more members of the loyal opposition from the registration list or if the purge showed no sign of partisan bias and the Democratic drop was related more to other factors, like more new voters signing up as Republicans and independents and thus reducing those groups’ net losses.
Alas, Deputy Secretary of State Kea Warne informs me that in following the federally required voter list maintenance, the office does not keep track of party affiliation of purged voters. (Nertz! There’s another potentially interesting spreadsheet down the tubes.)
DSOS Warne does provide a handy review of the timeline for dropping voters from the rolls:
South Dakota’s 66 County Auditors conduct Voter List Maintenance pursuant to the Federal National Voter Registration Act.
The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) requires voter registration file maintenance procedures to be conducted every odd-numbered year between January 1st and November 15th. The maintenance procedures identify and remove the names of those individuals who are no longer eligible to vote. The process takes a total of eight years (four general election cycles) of not voting, not updating their voter registration or responding to a previous list maintenance mailing before a voter can be purged from the voter file. A voter can stay on the active voter registration list for 4 years (through two general elections) with no activity before being moved to the inactive list. A voter will then remain on the inactive voter registration list for another 4 years (through two more general elections) with no activity before being purged from the voter file. There are required mailings that must be sent to a voter prior to being moved to the inactive file and again prior to being purged from the voter file.
All voters listed on the inactive voter registration list can still vote a regular ballot but prior to voting a ballot that voter must fill out a voter registration form so that voter’s registration record can be updated and the voter will be moved to active status for the next election. The inactive voter will only be given a ballot that he/she is currently registered for. If the voter changes the political party or an updated address moves them to another district, the voter can only vote on the ballot designated to him/her on that registration list for that election [link added; Deputy Secretary of State Kea Warne, e-mail to Dakota Free Press, 2017.09.05].
In other words, Warne confirms what I mentioned in the comment section under my previous post on the summer purge: a voter who doesn’t show up for two general elections (or any primary, special, or local election during those two cycles) gets moved from Active to Inactive. A voter who doesn’t show up through two more election cycles goes from Inactive to totally purged. Before each status change, the county auditor sends a double postcard with a reply form to the address on the voter’s most recent registration form. The county auditor only changes the voter’s status after 30 days with no reply.
The relevant state statutes are the following:
- 12-4-19 Confirmation mailing to voters who fail to reply to a confirmation mailing–Exception.
- 12-4-19.1 Confirmation mailing notice to registrant of proposed registration cancellation–Postcard and return card–Contents.
- 12-4-19.2 Placement in inactive registration file by auditor.
- 12-4-19.4 Cancellation of voter registration.