Monday, June 10, 2013

Bloated Voter Rolls in Maryland

The extent of another state's bloated voter rolls recently came to light when the Maryland Republican Party released a report about the states voter rolls. Twenty thousand deceased Marylanders remain on voter registration rolls, 268,000 voters are registered at addresses where they don’t live, and 48 are listed with record ages higher than 114 years old.

The party used data collected from current state election files, the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Postal Office National Change of Address information and commercial information available on the web.

“We want to share our findings with the State Board of Elections to make sure voter rolls are cleansed properly,” said Maryland Republican Party Executive Director David Ferguson. “This is not an attack on the state board, they are just a repository for all 24 counties. It’s very difficult to remove someone from the voter file.”

He said the findings illustrate that there might need to be changes in Maryland law, or that elections officials need to go above and beyond the current system in order to make sure the voter rolls accurately reflect Maryland voters.

Of the 268,004 registered names with different addresses than those on file, the Maryland Republican Party found that approximately 167,113 now live at a different location within Maryland and approximately 100,891 have filed change of address forms stating they now live out of state. Ferguson said the research group compared voter data against a National Change of Address search through the Postal Service.

The report found 11,170 individuals currently on the voter rolls have changed their address to Virginia, 4,352 to Delaware, 11,113 to Pennsylvania, and 3,696 to New York. Media reports say that the world’s two oldest people are 114 and 116 — making it extremely unlikely that Maryland has 48 people aged 114 or older, as the analysis found on the voter rolls.

In releasing their findings, state party chair Diana Waterman said, 

“It is time to open the books and cleanse our list of the deceased and those no longer residing in Maryland to make sure we fully understand who is voting in our elections.”

Removing from the voter rolls those who are ineligible is of vital importance to the integrity of elections.  Just last month a scheme was uncovered by activists in New York to take advantage of such ineligible voters.    

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