Over 44,000 people are registered to vote in both Virginia and Maryland, Virginia Voters Alliance, an advocacy group that monitors voting in the state, announced on Wednesday. Among them 164 people voted in both states during the 2012 general election.
“The Virginia Voters Alliance is investigating how to identify voters who are registered and vote in Virginia but live in the states that surround us,” VVA President Reagan George told the State Board of Elections, according to Watchdog.org.
VVA, in working with the Privileges and Elections committees of the state House and Senate, identified 31,000 dead Virginia voters who were still registered, though the number could be as high as 60,000 dead registrations, Watchdog.org reports.
Before the 2013 Virginia gubernatorial election, Watchdog.org reported that at least 300,000 people registered in the commonwealth were also registered in another state. The State Board of Elections asked local registrars to review potential duplicate voters between August 23 and October 1, 2013. However, there were no requirements to comply or penalties for non-compliance.
Virginia became a member of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck, which is run by the Kansas Board of Elections with assistance from Arkansas. The program covers 27 states. According to the Daily Kos, each state receives a list of potential duplicate voters based on first name, last name and date of birth. It is then up to the state to use their own procedures to purge verified duplicates from its system.
But election officials told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that being registered in multiple states isn’t necessarily fraudulent, as duplicate registration can occur when people move or change names. Virginia used only information from states that also provided the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers, which they say is more reliable.
The state discovered 164,000 duplicate voters, but about 97,000 of them were considered active voters. “It doesn’t mean that they have actually voted, it just means that they are on the rolls,” Matthew J. Davis, information services manager with the elections board, said.
According to the Times-Dispatch, “Once a dual match has been confirmed as accurate, Section 8 of the National Voting Rights Act allows the removal of voters from the rolls only if they either confirm in writing that they changed their address or fail to respond to a notice and fail to vote in the next two federal general elections.”
It is up to voters to notify their local election office that they have moved out of the jurisdiction. "The assumption, I would think, is that they would do the courtesy of letting the other states know that if you're registered with a new state, [the old registration] would no longer apply," Ben Skupien, a registered voter in Northern Virginia who believes he may be registered in at least five other states, told NPR.
VVA is calling on the Virginia State Board of Elections to tighten the commonwealth’s voter ID law, require proof of citizenship to vote, investigate voting irregularities in Virginia’s nursing homes and rehabilitation centers and audit felons annually on their ability to vote.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) announced Friday he will reduce the waiting period for convicted felons seeking restoration of their voting rights, Community Digital News reports. He will also remove drug offenses from the list of violent felonies, which will allow non-violent offenders to be eligible to vote immediately after finishing their sentences.
In Maryland, Election Integrity Maryland, a similar watchdog group to VVA, has notified the State Board of Elections of nearly 18,000 voter registration problems in six of the state’s 24 counties. Those discrepancies include multi-state registration, duplicate in-state registration, and registration addresses listing businesses or vacant lots.
“We conﬁrmed with the State Board of Elections that somehow votes had been cast after death certiﬁcates had been issued for three individuals. These zombie cases were referred to the State Prosecutor’s Oﬃce and Attorney General [Doug] Gansler's oﬃce,” the EIM website states. “Of special signiﬁcance, 173 cases of duplicate voting in both Maryland and Florida was discovered. These cases are likewise in the hands of the Attorney General's oﬃce.”
In July 2013, Maryland indicted two people on charges of voter fraud, according to Southern Maryland Newspapers Online. One woman was accused of impersonating her dead mother and reactivating her voter registration. The other was accused of trying to vote in her mother’s name.