By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau
FAIRFAX, Va. — An election-integrity group is challenging the status of nearly 15,000 voters reportedly registered in both Fairfax County and Maryland.
VVA President Reagan George complained the state Department of Elections is classifying all duplicate registrations as “inactive voters.”
That means 43,896 voters alleged to be registered in both Virginia and Maryland would stay in Virginia’s statewide database — and remain eligible to vote — until 2019.
George praised the Fairfax board for working with Maryland to identify duplicate registrations in its jurisdiction. He called on Fairfax General Registrar Cameron Quinn to cull the voter list as soon as possible.
“It is a requirement in the National Voter Registration Act for all boards of elections to keep their voter registration lists well maintained,” George said.
Under Virginia Code 24.2.429, George and three other local residents — Robert Bower, Timothy Hannigan and Robin Whitworth — challenged the validity of 14,646 voter registrations that appear in both Fairfax County and Maryland. The duplicates show the same first and last names and dates of birth.
But with the clock ticking toward the November elections, Quinn told Watchdog that canceling invalid registrations is a timing issue. By law, local voter rolls cannot be purged within 60 days of a general election.
“We can’t do anything with that volume of names in the time we have,” she said.
Still, Quinn plans to put the wheels in motion by sending letters to all 14,646 voters directing them to clarify their status.
“The letters will achieve a purpose. It will put people on notice,” she said.
George said the existence of thousands of duplicate registrations debunks the notion that voter fraud does not exist. He called on election officials to move as quickly as possible.
“There are procedures in place, including a hearing before the Fairfax Board, for the registrar’s office to expeditiously remove these duplicate registrations from the online database system,” he said.
Cathy Kelleher, president of Election Integrity Maryland, said her group was told that dual-registrant cases were turned over to the Maryland state prosecutor.
“What we want to know is whether these voters will have been investigated to the point that they will not be permitted to vote in the general election in Virginia,” she said.
Election fraud in Virginia can be classified as a “false statement,” a Class 5 felony punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $2,500.
“In Maryland, voter fraud is a misdemeanor and therefore won’t cause the fraudsters to lose their ability to vote,” Kelleher said.
Kenric Ward is a national correspondent for Watchdog.org and chief of its Virginia Bureau. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward