Media Coverage

Washington Post: Here’s How to Clean Up Messy Voter Rolls

When Virginia’s Board of Elections said it would remove tens of thousands of names from its voter rolls this year, voting-rights advocates cried foul, and went to court. But while Republicans criticized Democrats for opening elections to fraud, and Democrats complained Republicans were disenfranchising thousands of voters, the spat brought up a very real concern states across the nation face: Voter rolls are messy, and someone has to clean them up.

People move. People die. People get married and re-register under new names. Election administrators across the country face the tightrope of making sure their voter rolls are accurate while avoiding erasing a valid record.

Seven states believe they have the answer: The Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC.

Developed by The Pew Charitable Trusts and IBM, ERIC uses several databases to compare voters across state lines. The system compares voter list data with Department of Motor Vehicle records, Social Security Administration records, the Postal Service’s national change of address registry and other databases to match voters across state lines; if the system concludes with a high degree of confidence that a John Doe on one state’s voter roll is the same John Doe in another state, the record is flagged.

“You match enough of [the data points] across records that you have a lot of confidence,” said David Becker, Pew’s director of Election Initiatives. “It’s impossible for [states], based only on a name and birth date, to keep their lists up to date and identify when someone has died, for example.”

Read the full article at washingtonpost.com.

Projects:
Election Initiatives
 
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