PNS Daily Newscast - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders suspends his campaign for president. And COVID-19 is ravaging the black community in some areas, including Milwaukee.

2020Talks - April 9, 2020 

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders drops out of the race for president, though he assured supporters yesterday his movement will continue. A federal judge ruled this week a lawsuit in Florida awaiting trial will apply to all people with former felony convictions, not just the 17 plaintiffs.

Voter Registration Checking Program "Not Being Abused" in VA

A program intended to clean voter rolls could be open to abuse, but observers say that's not happening in Virginia. (Tom Arthur/Wikipedia)
A program intended to clean voter rolls could be open to abuse, but observers say that's not happening in Virginia. (Tom Arthur/Wikipedia)
September 6, 2016

RICHMOND, Va. - A program to clean folks who've registered in more than one state off voter rolls could be used for voter suppression. But vote watchers in Virginia say that isn't happening here. An investigation just published by Rolling Stone says the Interstate Crosscheck program is full of errors and might be being used to knock legitimate voters, often minority members, off the rolls.

But Tram Nguyen, co-executive director of the group New Virginia Majority, said a lot depends on how it's used. She said the current commissioner of elections doesn't use Crosscheck by itself, and doesn't nix voters just because they appear on it.

"It has not canceled voters based solely on Crosscheck, but basically triggers that voter into a process which would not remove them from the voter files for at least two federal cycles," she said.

According to the Rolling Stone article, Crosscheck lists more than seven million names. But it found that even though voting in two states in the same election is a felony, only four people have been charged with doing that.

Rolling Stone investigative reporter Greg Palast said Crosscheck is supposed to look for an exact match of first, middle, and last name and Social Security number. But he said he got the Virginia Crosscheck list from 2014, and found it clogged full of mistakes. Palast said more than 340,000 Virginia voters were supposedly also registered in another state. But many were like the man he spoke to in Ohio.

"Donald Alexander Webster Jr., and (Crosscheck) has him down as voting a second time in Virginia as Donald Eugene Webster Sr.," Palast said.

Palast said about 40,000 Virginia voters were taken off the rolls based on Crosscheck, a disproportionate share of them people of color. Nguyen said in 2013, under the administration of Republican Governor Bob McDonnell, there was a push to clean the rolls using Crosscheck. But she said her group and others, including the registrar in Chesterfield and other counties, objected.

"And then in the ensuing years, actually, in the Virginia General Assembly, there have been a number of bills introduced just to handle the Crosscheck list," she added.

Since then, she said, the program has been implemented much more carefully.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - VA