In Maryland and elsewhere, complaints have been raised by those who fear and believe that ineligible voters are showing up at the polls.

Whether voter fraud is a real concern is questionable. But according to  David Ferguson, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, suspicion that Maryland voter rolls contain hundreds of thousands of names that shouldn’t be there is more than political paranoia.

A recent MarylandReporter.com story took a look at Ferguson’s statistics, which he says were a compilation of data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Postal Service change-of-address information, and a variety of sources on the Internet.

The numbers are pretty dramatic. The big one: 268,000 voters on state rolls are registered at addresses where they do not live, including tens of thousands who reside in other states such as Pennsylvania (11,113), Virginia (11,170) and Delaware (4,352). They also discovered 48 people 114 or older — unlikely in the extreme.

And 20,000 others are dead.

What’s going on here? Is this a deliberate conspiracy of some sort to stack the deck? No, the real problem is that it’s no easy matter removing someone’s name from an official list of eligible voters. For instance, the State Board of Elections cannot simply declare someone deceased and expunge his or her name from voter rolls. Specific official notification is required by the 1965 National Voting Rights Act.

It’s easy to see how so many deaths go unreported to the state elections office, which currently has only two sources for death notices — a monthly report from the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and notification from the deceased person’s family.

The state elections board is reviewing the GOP’s findings and is beginning to use the state’s new Electronic Registration Information Center program. The program will provide additional sources for death notices, including Social Security, Postal Service files — and voter data, such as changes of address, from other states.

What’s really needed, however, is a statewide voter registration database, but creating one would require new legislation. It’s time for someone in Annapolis to get that ball rolling.

It’s important to say that the presence of all those ineligible voters on current rolls does not mean that voter fraud was actually perpetrated. However, the concern about so many relocated and deceased voters’ names on official voter rolls is justified.

Public confidence in the election process is critical to a democracy. With all the information-gathering capability available today, it should not be that difficult to keep voter rolls current and accurate.

(13) comments

kjswartz

Nobody should be "purged" of their citizenship. If there's a question of residency, the Board of Elections judge should approach the person at the last known address for validation. We had a census three years ago - use that information as well.

While it is cost-beneficial to just strike voters off the roll on a whim, our citizenship demands much more respect.

reji96991

So we allow a handful of ineligible voters to vote just to ensure one eligible voter isn't denied the right to vote??? That means for approximately every eligible vote we get we may have 5 to 10 ineligible votes?? This kind of thinking must be a result of that new kind of math FCPS has been teaching!!

public-redux

I'm not following your math.

In 2012, about 2,600,000 votes were cast in Maryland's general election. Turnout was 74% of registered voters (about 3.7 million.)

Even if every single one of the 300,000 or so people who were registered when they should not have been actually voted, that leaves about 2,300,000 legitimate voters.

So how did you calculate that we get 5 to 10 ineligible votes for every eligible vote?

reji96991

thank you mr. spock. i knew i would be able to get somebody to do the research for me on the numbers. i could use you as my secretary anytime. lol

public-redux

Works for me. I could steal you blind and you'd never even notice.

Perhapsnotyet

It would seem that proving who you are at the polls would be a good idea. Ops forgot that is deemed as in some way infringing upon the voters rights. On a side matter. Just how do the election judges in Tacoma Park separate the 16 to 18 year old votes and the "non citizen" votes from actual legal vote in their elections? All jurisdictions combine federal, state and local elections.

Wayo44Mag

[typo] ... they too could get elected!!

Wayo44Mag

And you wonder why the Democrats.. who are AGAINST voter ID laws keep getting elected??? Perhaps if the Republicans gave away free food stamps , cell phones , housing , cars , and cash to anyone who wants it maybe

puddintane245

All the posters who are on the other articles posting negative comments about the BoCC, are ignoring a potentially even more important issue, vote integrity. I can only surmise that they may not consider it a problem if it provides a larger voter base, voting for their ideas (R or D). But maybe they are right, 280,000 votes in Maryland would probably not change the strangle hold that the democrats have on the state.[sneaky]

puddintane245

Excellent point, the legislature in Annapolis needs to address this issue soon. I do not know if there is vast voter fraud being committed, but I can attest to how easy it is to fraudulenty vote at the polls in Maryland. Having served as a check-in judge at the polls for the last several years all you need is to show up with a name, address and date of birth that you know is on the voter rolls and you get a ballot.

The lack of picture ID requirement makes this so much easier, but I know we can not require that as there some conspiracy theorists out there that feel that this is a scheme to deny the vote to an eligible voter. But just remember, every vote from a fraudulent voter, nullifies a legal voters vote.[blink]

kjswartz

You served as an election judge and now started this line of supposition about probable methods of vote fraud. So, let me ask one question:

How many times did a second person show and ask for a ballot?

wmpratt2010

Just require re-registering every five years.

puddintane245

How can we expect that voters can re-register every five years when they are not able to get one photo ID. What are you, some kind of an animal?[wink]

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