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Why couldn't I cast my vote?

Credit: KFOX14/CBS4

Sonia posted a message to me on Facebook, wanting to know why she was purged from El Paso county's voting rolls.

Sonia said she'd been a registered voter for more than 15 years, but when she went to cast her ballot in November, she learned she couldn't vote, because her name had been removed from the voter registration rolls.

Here's what I learned from El Paso County Elections Administrator Lisa Wise. She told me that under Texas law, registrars must maintain something called a suspense list. That list contains the names of voters who might be purged. For example, they didn't respond to a request from their local elections office, seeking confirmation of their address or their voter renewal certificate was returned as undeliverable, likely because they moved. Other reasons include: they were excused from jury duty because they said they no longer lived in a particular county or their jury summons was returned as undeliverable.

Voters on the suspense list can still cast ballots, but they'll need to show proof of identification and fill out a statement of residence confirming their address when they vote.

However, if a voter whose name is on the suspense list misses a couple of general elections and doesn't update their voter registration information, the county elections office will then cancel their voter registration.

Other issues could also get names purged from the voter rolls, including mistakes. So it's always a good idea to check and see if you're still registered to vote. You can do that easily by visiting your county’s elections department website.

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