Thousands of voter registrations canceled

Published 11:15 pm Monday, December 29, 2008

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Nearly 45,000 Louisiana voters have been removed from the state’s voter rolls in a purge of inactive voters, Secretary of State Jay Dardenne announced Monday.

The 44,739 inactive voters whose registrations were canceled represent about 1.5 percent of the state’s 2.9 million registered voters.

Dardenne’s office said those canceled were voters whose addresses can’t be confirmed by state and local elections officials and who haven’t voted in two years. State law requires the cancellation of voter registrations for voters who don’t cast ballots in any election for two years.

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The canceled voters are disproportionately independents or voters registered with parties besides the Democratic or Republican parties. One-third of the purged voter registrations belonged to other party voters or independents, but those groups make up only 22 percent of the state’s voting rolls.

The largest numbers of canceled voter registrations were in New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish, but Jacques Berry, a spokesman for Dardenne’s office, said those cancellations weren’t connected to the large movements of Louisianians after Hurricane Katrina.

Berry said the voters stripped from the rolls were deemed inactive before Katrina struck in 2005.

Among the voters whose registrations were canceled:

—43 percent were Democrats, who make up 52 percent of registered voters.

—23 percent were Republicans, who comprise 25 percent of the state’s voters.

—17 percent were from New Orleans, 16 percent were from Jefferson Parish and 12 percent were from East Baton Rouge Parish.