Our society is mobile. Jobs change. Life happens. We move around.
After I left Salt Lake in 1983 I lived in Harlingen, Texas, Wichita, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri. I returned to our great state in 1993.
Four moves in 10 years. And in every new city, I was a good little citizen and registered to vote.
Not a problem.
Here's the problem: According to The Pew Center on the States, many people stay on local voter registration rolls even after they've moved ... or died.
With the help of RTI International, The Pew Center conducted a groundbreaking study of voter registration records around the nation. What they found is disturbing, but not really surprising:
• Nearly 2 million deceased individuals are listed as active voters.
• Approximately 2.75 million people have active registrations in more than one state.
• About 12 million records have incorrect addresses
Their conclusion: "Approximately 24 million active voter registrations in the United States—one of every eight—are no longer valid or have significant inaccuracies ..."
Enough to sway a national election? Probably not. But then again, we did have some close ones in 2000 and 2004.
For me the real point is this: If we hold our democracy sacred, shouldn't we be taking more care to ensure our voters rolls are accurate?
Hey, Canada does it.
All the discrepancies open up the whole process to fraud. David Becker, with The Pew Center summed it up, “These problems waste taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence, and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity of our elections.”
What's the solution? The folks at the Pew Center have some ideas. (The summary of their report is linked to this article.)
What do you think?