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Report: 308,000 Virginia voters registered in other states

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GAPS IN SYSTEM: A new report found 308,000 people were simultaneously registered to vote in Virginia and other states.

GAPS IN SYSTEM: A new report found 308,000 people were simultaneously registered to vote in Virginia and other states.

By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau

RICHMOND, Va. — Some 308,000 Virginia voters are also registered elsewhere, according to an analysis of 22 states’ election records.

The finding follows Watchdog.org’s report of 44,000 people who appear to be registered in both Virginia and Maryland.

The latest survey found the 308,000 double registrations by matching names, birth dates and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.

The Virginia Voters Alliance, which reported the results, identified “big gaps” in the voter-registration process.

“Say you move to Kansas and tell the election office there that you were registered in Virginia when you submit your Kansas voter-registration form,” explained VVA president Reagan George. “If the Kansas election official is bureaucratically lazy or politically motivated your name never gets removed. The same thing can happen on the Virginia end, and you stay double registered.”

How many of the 308,000 voters cast multiple ballots in a single election is not known.

But George’s group — working with Election Integrity Maryland — says it found 164 individuals who voted in both states in 2012.

Virginia’s State Board of Elections acknowledged “voter registration problems” and “inactive voter registrations” were encountered in 2012.

A 2012 study by the Pew Center on the States called voter-registration policies across the country “significantly outdated and plagued with errors.”

“There is no standard procedure to handle voter fraud referrals, so it becomes a low-priority item,” George told Watchdog.

“If Virginia is having trouble convicting people (of voter fraud), maybe the laws need to be changed,” he said.

SBE Secretary Don Palmer said efforts are being made to contact Virginia voters who have registered in other states.

In a statement to Watchdog, Palmer noted that Virginia participates in two voter crosscheck programs. “Data from Virginia is compared to over 30 states … including Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and West Virginia,” he said.

“Attempts to contact the identified voters who have registered in other states after their last activity date in Virginia — including registering to vote and voting — at both their current Virginia registration address and their out-of-state registration address are currently under way in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act and Virginia law,” Palmer said.

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent for Watchdog.org and chief of its Virginia Bureau. Contact him at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

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Kenric Ward is a veteran journalist who has worked on three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers. A California native, he received a BA from UCLA (Political Science/Phi Beta Kappa) and holds an MBA. He reported and edited at the San Jose Mercury News and the Las Vegas Sun before joining Watchdog.org in 2012 as Virginia Bureau Chief.