May 16, 2023 - Politics

Virginia pulls out of multistate voter compact

Illustration of a pattern of voting booths.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Virginia will no longer participate in a multistate data-sharing program aimed at keeping voter rolls up to date.

Why it matters: The bipartisan, under-the-radar program drew little attention until it fell in the crosshairs of "election integrity" conspiracy theorists.

What's happening: Youngkin's election commissioner, Susan Beals, raised concerns about the "confidentiality of voter information" in a letter last week informing the Electronic Registration Information Center that the state will no longer participate.

  • She also cited "controversy surrounding the historical sharing of data with outside organizations leveraged for political purposes" — an apparent reference to the release of anonymized data to researchers, which each participating state individually approved, per NPR.

The other side: Democrats have lambasted the decision, noting Virginia was a founding member under then-Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell.

  • They called it especially important in Northern Virginia, where moves across state lines are common.

Between the lines: Conspiracy theories aside, mainstream Republicans have chafed at a requirement that compact members reach out to eligible-but-unregistered voters identified by the database in a bid to maximize election participation.

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