States with most potential duplicate voter records
Earlier this year, a project anchored by the state of Kansas reviewed records from 22 states to search for duplicates, flagging some 5 million registration records as potentially problematic. Here’s a look at the five states that had the largest share of potential duplicates compared to the state’s overall voter registration list:
Georgia 510,756 potential duplicates (8.4 percent of list)
South Carolina 245,721 potential duplicates (7.9 percent of list)
Kentucky 243,161 potential duplicates (7.8 percent of list)
Colorado 279,822 potential duplicates (7.7 percent of list)
Alaska 35,557 potential duplicates (6.9 percent of list)
SOURCE: Office of the Kansas Secretary of State
States involved in voter match programs
More than half of all states are now involved in two large data-matching efforts designed to identify duplicate voter registrations. Here’s a look at which states are participating. States involved in Kansas consortium:
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia.
States involved in the Electronic Registration Information Center project:
Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, Washington
— The Associated Press
SEATTLE — More than half of states are now working in broad alliances to scrub voter rolls of millions of questionable registrations, identifying people registered in multiple states and tens of thousands of dead voters who linger on election lists.
Poll managers are looking for more states to get involved and say the efforts are necessary because outdated voter registration systems are unable to keep up with a society where people frequently move from one state to another. While many of the registration problems are innocent, some election leaders fear the current disorder within the system is inviting trouble.
"It creates an environment where there could be more problems," said Scott Gessler, the Republican secretary of state in Colorado. "It's a precursor to potential fraud, there's no doubt about it."
Half of all states have now joined a consortium anchored by the state of Kansas, compiling their voter registration lists at the end of every year to assess for duplicates. That program has grown rapidly since beginning in 2005 in an agreement between four Midwestern states.
Meanwhile, seven states are coordinating on another project that makes those assessments more frequently with advanced algorithms — while also checking for deceased voters.
The efforts are already finding massive numbers of outdated or problematic registrations. This year, the Kansas project identified some 5 million records that were questionable in 22 states and also identified some people who voted in multiple states, according to officials. The newer project — known as the Electronic Registration Information Center — identified hundreds of thousands of other registrations that need updating, including 23,000 people who were dead.
The larger system identified more than a dozen people who voted in Kansas and another state, said Kansas Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, and those identifications could lead to prosecution. He said the expansion of the checks and awareness of the program will hopefully deter others from double-voting.
Both data-matching programs are bipartisan. That is different than just before the 2012 election, when Republicans predominantly led efforts they portrayed as issues of election integrity, including the purge of possible noncitizens from rolls and the passage of voter ID laws. Democrats and voter advocacy groups had raised concerns about those efforts, questioning whether they would prevent legitimate voters from casting a ballot.
"The states that are on board are all very much working as a partnership," said Scott Gilles, Nevada's deputy secretary of elections under Democratic Secretary of State Ross Miller. Nevada has been one of the early participants in the ERIC program and also recently joined the Kansas project.
Citizenship checks are not part of the current programs. Participants in ERIC discussed doing citizenship analysis as part of its system but agreed not to include it because the data is often outdated and unreliable, said Shane Hamlin, the deputy director of election in Washington state. He said that information may be included some day in the future but not any time soon.
Wendy Weiser, who monitors voting rights issues at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's School of Law, cautioned that election leaders also need to be careful to ensure that eligible voters are not getting removed.