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Stafford voter gets unwelcome news in the mail

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When Kaitlin McCormick, 22, received a letter from the Stafford County registrar in July, she assumed it was her new voter registration card and left it in the envelope, afraid she would lose it otherwise.

She opened it Monday night and was shocked to find that it was a letter declaring her to be a non-citizen of the United States and stating that she had been removed from the county’s voter rolls.

“At first, I thought it was a scam,” McCormick said. “I have lived in Virginia my whole life and rarely left Virginia.”

McCormick, who said she was born in Virginia and has never so much as traveled abroad, lives in Aquia Harbour. She spent election day making phone calls to state and local officials to try to get her voting rights back—the same rights that allowed her to vote in the last presidential election when she was 18.

According to McCormick, the Stafford registrar’s office told her it could have been an error by the Department of Motor Vehicles. When she called the DMV, officials said it was unlikely they were at fault, as she probably would have had difficulty getting a driver’s license if she was not a citizen.

McCormick said that the county registrar’s office told her some people are declared non-citizens and purged from the voter rolls if they make a claim of not being citizens to get out of jury duty. McCormick said she has never been called for jury duty.

“It felt so strange,” she said. “It feels like identity theft.”

So instead of casting a ballot, McCormick went to her Government Island precinct polling place at the Harbour Inn and cast a provisional ballot, which doesn’t carry the same weight as an actual vote, and is likely to be counted later, without impacting the election.

When asked if she regrets not opening the envelope sooner, McCormick thought about her wasted day and surreal circumstances.

“Of course I do,” she said.

Jonas Beals: 540/368-5036