Thursday, 31 May 2012

Voter Registration Clean-Up in Florida — Removing Deceased Voters and Illegal Immigrants

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The names of about 52,000 deceased voters have been removed from Florida’s voter registration rolls. More voter registrations, possibly as many as 180,000 non-citizens, may follow as the State of Florida moves to clean up its voter registration lists.

About 52,000 deceased voters were identified by comparing voter registration databases with the Social Security Administration’s databases containing information regarding deceased persons. Chris Cate, Communications Director for the Florida Department of State, told The New American that the main problem in getting the voter registration databases updated wasn’t voters who died in Florida — it was voters who moved out of Florida and then died in another state. Frequently, when voters move and register to vote in a different state, the previous jurisdictions are not notified.

The list of 180,000 voters who are potentially not U.S. citizens was developed by comparing voter registration databases to state driver’s license databases. Non-citizens can get driver’s licenses in Florida, but they are identified as such. Cate explained to The New American that the State of Florida is trying to get the latest citizenship information to better identify names on voter registration lists who are potentially non-citizens. In many cases the citizenship data hasn’t been updated since the driver’s licenses were issued, and some of these people have become U.S. citizens since then. The Florida Department of State has requested access to databases at the Department of Homeland Security that have the latest citizenship information, but they haven’t been successful. They are pursuing other options, such as other databases in Florida that can be updated with latest citizenship information.

When asked what will happen to voter registrations that might be removed in error, Cate explained that the voter’s registration will be retroactively reinstated as if it had never been removed. If necessary, the voter will have the ability to cast a provisional ballot that will be counted.

When asked how many times ballots have been cast in the names of these deceased voters since they died or cast using the voter registrations of non-citizens, Cate said he did not have the voter history information. That exists at the county level with the Supervisors of Elections.

As large as these numbers of inaccurate voter registrations are in Florida, they are probably only the tip of the iceberg. Owing to such unconstitutional laws as the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (aka Motor Voter) and lax procedures for voters who move, especially when they move to other states, the other 49 states plus the District of Columbia can reasonably be expected to have comparable percentages of non-citizen and deceased voters on their registration lists as Florida has.

Thanks to such organizations as True The Vote, there are now networks of trained volunteers across the country verifying voter registration lists. These volunteers are discovering and reporting incredible anomalies in voter registrations. They are finding empty lots with voters supposedly living there. One volunteer found a half-way house with a large number of registered voters, but upon checking at the address, no one at that address knew the people who were on the voter registration list. Another volunteer found a parking garage with over 30 registered voters supposedly living there.

Florida is making a much-needed step in the right direction. The other states need to get in step with Florida and hopefully take it further.