1.8 Million Dead People Still Registered To Vote
Democrats and Republicans don’t agree on much. But they do agree that voter registration lists across the country are a mess.
A new report by the Pew Center on the States finds that more than 1.8 million dead people are currently registered to vote. And 24 million registrations are either invalid or inaccurate.
There’s little evidence that this has led to widespread voter fraud, but it has raised concerns that the system is vulnerable.
Election officials say one problem is that Americans move around a lot. And when they do, they seldom alert the local election office that they’ve left.
Ben Skupien, a registered voter who now lives in Northern Virginia, is pretty typical. He has moved repeatedly over the years and says he’s probably registered to vote in about a half-dozen states.
“The assumption, I would think, is that they would do the courtesy of letting the other states know that if you’re registered with a new state, [the old registration] would no longer apply,” said Skupien.
In fact, states seldom share such information. The Pew study found that almost 3 million people are registered to vote in more than one state.
Voters also die, which leads to another problem, says Linda Lamone, who runs Maryland’s elections.
“If a John Smith lives in Maryland and goes to another state, say on vacation, and dies,” Lamone said, “the law of the state where John Smith dies dictates whether or not the Maryland vital statistics people can share that information with me.”
And even when they do — or if a person dies in-state — there’s often a delay before election officials are alerted. It’s also not always clear that the individual on the death certificate is the same one who’s registered to vote. Election officials still have to do a lot more digging to avoid accidentally taking someone off the rolls who is very much alive.