Voters eligible to cast ballots are already being swept up in a grassroots effort to purge the nation’s registration rolls ahead of the 2024 presidential election, a CBS News investigation has found.
Fueled by doubts about the 2020 election, an army of conservative activists is poring over state voter lists, looking for registration errors that can be used to file what are known as voter challenges — questioning the registrations of thousands of Americans.
The undertaking, which includes the involvement of a lawyer tied to former President Trump’s alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election, tends to affect minority or younger voters who may be statistically more likely to vote Democrat, according to local election officials.
“It’s young voters, it’s people of color, and it’s people that are unhoused,” said Karli Swift, chair of the election board in DeKalb County, Georgia. “Those are generally the types of people that end up in voter challenges.”
One of those hit with challenges was James McWhorter, who received a letter at the barbershop he manages in the middle of October from DeKalb County informing him that someone had challenged his voter status. The challenger, a woman named Gail Lee, argued McWhorter improperly registered to vote at a commercial address and snapped photos of his barbershop, which is located inside an Atlanta-area Kroger supermarket, as evidence.
“I didn’t know Gail Lee from a can of paint,” McWhorter told CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett.
Since the two had never met, there was no way for Lee to know that McWhorter had registered to vote at the shop’s address in 2008 because he was homeless at the time. A veteran of the Gulf War, he was still trying to get back on his feet after years of struggling with PTSD and alcoholism.
“My friends, my family never knew I was displaced, never knew I was homeless,” McWhorter said, adding he would return to the barbershop after it closed and sleep in his chair and wash his clothes at a24-hour laundromat nearby.
Nevertheless, the letter made it clear that McWhorter’s voter registration could be canceled if he didn’t take action…