Orange County has removed nearly 281,000 people from its active voter rolls, about one out of every six voters in the county.
Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley says if he didn’t prune the voter rolls, he’d end up sending ballot materials to people that have moved away.
“What you end up having, long term, is a very bloated voter database," Kelley explains. "You’ve got these tremendous costs. Mail is going out to people that aren’t there.”
But Kelley says he isn’t permanently removing anyone from voter rolls.
All a registered voter has to do is respond to a mailer, request an absentee ballot, or show up to vote — and they’ll get back on the active list.
But in four more years, inactive voters can be purged.
“They have to go through two more federal elections without voting, which means they won’t have voted for eight years before you can remove them," said Kelley.
As first reported by the Orange County Register, the 281,000 people declared inactive in Orange County is more than the total number for every other county in the state combined.