Accurate voter rolls are essential to free and fair elections. Each error in the voter roll presents an opportunity for fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, America’s voter rolls are filled with hundreds of thousands of errors.
The data paints a dark picture.
We found over 317,000 deceased registrants on states’ voter rolls. Another nearly 450,000 individuals registered to vote in multiple states.
In just Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia we found over 54,000 same address duplicate voter registrations. This is extremely alarming in states like Nevada that automatically mail a ballot to every active registered voter.
All these errors provide opportunities for election crimes. It allows people to vote twice or for a deceased relative.
Not only does it hurt the integrity of our elections to have these errors on the voter roll, but also states are breaking federal law by not conducting voter list maintenance. Under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, states are required to “conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters.” These hundreds of thousands of errors on the voter rolls are proof that many top election officials are not conducting reasonable list maintenance.
Obtaining the voter rolls to do this analysis was not always easy. Sometimes we had to fight in court to protect the public’s right to inspect voter rolls. For example, in Illinois election officials refused to provide us with a copy of the voter roll, so we sued them. After nearly two years and $100,000 in attorney fees, we obtained a copy.
In Maine, the state passed a law that prohibits using the voter roll for anything other than “evaluating” Maine’s compliance with voter list maintenance obligations. So, recipients may not use the voter roll to evaluate other states, for things like an individual registered in both Maine and Florida. The law attaches severe fines for unauthorized use. We challenged this law in court and are awaiting a decision.
Now, we are weaponizing this data in litigation to hold election officials accountable across the county.
For instance, we have sued Michigan Secretary of State, Jocelyn Benson for failing to remove 25,000 deceased registrants from the voter roll. Some of these individuals have been deceased for over two decades. It is not reasonable for someone to remain on the voter rolls for six presidential election cycles after their death.
Just this year, we successfully got six counties in Minnesota to remove over 500 duplicate voter registrations.
In 2021, we reached a settlement agreement with the Pennsylvania secretary of State to remove over 21,000 deceased individuals from the Commonwealth’s voter roll. Our data even led to the arrest of a man who registered and voted for his deceased wife in 2020.
The work to clean states’ voter rolls is just beginning. These hundreds of thousands or errors illustrate the sheer magnitude of the problem.
We are letting top election officials know about these errors in their states. We shouldn’t have to sue them to get them to do their jobs, but we will if we have to.
By removing these duplicate and deceased registrants, we can restore Americans’ confidence in our election system.
We need to clean up America’s voter rolls before the 2024 election. It will be here before you know it.
Lauren Bowman Bis is the Director of Media Affairs for the Public Interest Legal Foundation. Prior to joining PILF, she served in the Trump White House Communications Team and on the Trump 2020 campaign.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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