Election Integrity Maryland (EIM), one of the Mid–Atlantic’s leading election watchdog organizations, in partnership with The Virginia Voters Alliance (VVA), has discovered at least 43,983 voters registered in both Maryland and Virginia.
These duplicate registrations on both states’ rolls present a large-scale risk to fair electoral processes and pose significant threats to the fair outcomes of future elections. Investigative efforts continue in the wake of the upcoming Board of Elections meetings, scheduled for May 22, 2014 in Maryland and May 26, 2014 in Virginia.
The 43,983 duplicate registrations were uncovered in a recent review of data purchased from the Maryland and Virginia State Boards of Elections (SBE), respectively, which included voter preferences from the 2013 Governors’ race in Virginia and the 2012 presidential election in Maryland.
Most recently, the records have been referred by the SBE to the Office of the State Prosecutor for investigation. The review consisted of a SQL query comparing 3.4 million current voter records in Maryland and 5.5 million in Virginia by first name, middle initial, last name, and date of birth. This revealed the staggering statistic. 164 individuals also appear to have participated in double-voting practices between the two states, an activity that will be under particular scrutiny in the upcoming 2014 and 2016 elections. Additionally, in Virginia, over 308,000 potential duplicate voter records were found in the most recent record matching Crosscheck conducted by the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck). The Crosscheck program compared Virginia’s records against 21 other states by all of the above name and birthdate factors as well as the last four digits of the records’ Social Security numbers for added specificity. Virginia is among 28 states currently participating in Crosscheck; Maryland one of 9 that is included in the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), yet another tool used across the country by volunteer groups to monitor and clean up voter rolls. Virginia is one of only two states (the other being Colorado) to participate in both ERIC and Crosscheck.
“The latest data highlighting the duplicate voter records within Maryland and Virginia is astounding,” said Cathy Kelleher, EIM’s President. “Above all, this most recent information underscores the state of our voter rolls nationwide, which have huge potential to fraudulently alter the outcomes of our elections and the political future of our country. The current honor system appears to have been sacrificed!” Kelleher further stated that “we must preserve free and fair election processes so that no person’s vote is disenfranchised by would-be cheaters. Being aware of what EIM’s counterparts have discovered in a number of states across America, it is easy to conclude that we are facing a national disgrace!”
At the end of April, Election Integrity Maryland helped to block a Maryland Board of Elections move to certify the Online Ballot Delivery System. Maryland’s current online registration process is among the ‘most vulnerable’ of all the state systems and one of the most open to large-scale, automated fraud. University of Maryland law professor, Michael Greenberger, was quoted in a recent article in The Baltimore Sun as saying of the current online system, “Experts say there is no way to know for certain that the person requesting the absentee ballot is the one filling it out and mailing it in…the identification system currently in place is not an effective way to authenticate a voter; in fact, it’s vulnerable to fraud.”
In addition to potential fraud, communication and adequate monitoring systems stand as other obstacles to clean and accurate voter rolls. A 2012 study released by the Pew Center on the States (Election Initiatives), describes the current system as “inaccurate, costly, and inefficient,” citing “lack of communication and data-sharing between states” as the cause of the voter registration lists that remain “significantly outdated and plagued with errors.” Additionally, the study found that approximately 24 million, representative of one in eight, voter registrations in the United States were either invalid or flagrantly incorrect. This includes:
• More than 1.8 million deceased individuals were erroneously listed as voters;
• Approximately 2.75 million people had registrations in more than one state; and
• At least 51 million eligible U.S. citizens were unregistered, more than 24 % of the eligible population.
Virginia’s State Board of Elections (SBE) confirms these statistics and revealed in a survey of general registrars and electoral board members conducted after the 2012 General Election that “voter registration problems” and “inactive voter registrations” were the second and third largest problems encountered at the polls during that election. In addition, data published in a recent article in Watchdog.org shows that the SBE identified between 40,000-60,000 dead voters listed on Virginia’s rolls, via the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File. To this, Reagan George, President of the VVA, noted that, “Dead voter registrations are prime targets for voter fraud which generate few complaints.”
While these issues pose major problems in Maryland and Virginia, they also pose threats in many other states.
• In North Carolina, 155,692 registered voters with exact matches on first name, last name, date of birth and last four digits of their Social Security Numbers, whose latest voter registration activity was not in the state, were identified in a recent Crosscheck. Another 35, 750 voter records for individuals who voted within the state were also discovered to have cast ballots in other states.
• An audit of online voter records in California revealed 6,080 duplicates that remained on the rolls through the 2012 election and through summer-fall of 2013. 113 of the 6,080 suspected duplicates also appear to have voted twice in the 2012 presidential election. Almost half of these voters were college-age (18-24).
• In Massachusetts, Democratic Rep. Stephen Smith pleaded guilty to felony charges of election fraud using absentee ballots acquired and cast online in multiple elections in 2009 and 2010. He subsequently resigned from office.
“Just as we should not have to wait for a bank robbery to occur before a bank proactively protects our money, so should the state be taking steps to protect our precious votes,” said Reagan George, President of the VVA. “The legitimacy of our electoral processes has been sacrificed on the altar of convenience by the Progressive Left, and we stand to lose our Republic should these dishonest and fraudulent activities be allowed to continue, as they erode the public’s trust and confidence in the entire electoral process.”