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Texas Attorney General agrees to stop purging names of 'possibly deceased' from voter rolls

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CHRIS TOMLINSON, Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas attorney general agreed Wednesday to stop purging from the voter rolls the names of 81,000 people who are listed as possibly deceased, said attorneys for four living voters who made the list.

Voting registrars will continue to purge the names of those confirmed to be dead, but not those they can't immediately confirm, said a statement released by civil rights attorneys Buck Wood and Dave Richards. The agreement comes a day before a court was scheduled to hear arguments in the case.

Lauren Bean, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office, said she had no immediate comment.

The four voters who brought the lawsuit received letters from a county voting registrar asking them to confirm they were not dead. The four argued that the state should not require them to prove they are alive.

Voting registrars in Dallas and Houston also opposed the purge, led by the Texas Secretary of State's office. Elections officials want to require counties to check voter rolls against the Social Security Administration's death index to make sure deceased voters are removed from the rolls.

That index is known to have errors, and voters statewide have received letters instructing them to basically prove they're alive in order to remain on the voting rolls.

Some counties and Democrats worried the process would disenfranchise voters. The Texas secretary of state's office argued that the Legislature passed the new law overwhelmingly and that voters won't be turned away on Election Day if they don't respond to the letter.

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