Q&A – How Florida Reconciles Voter Rolls To Determine Eligible Voters
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Today’s entry: How does Florida protect itself from this type of fraud? How does Florida handle a new voter application that does not match a social security number?
Bottom Line: Today’s note comes on back of a story out of Arizona where the ongoing audit of voter records and state records from last year’s election cycle is nearing a conclusion. Alongside the audit is the state’s ongoing evaluation of voter rolls in the state. The most recent report from the state revealed a somewhat stunning 393,017 registered voters in Arizona didn’t have matching records with the Social Security Administration, meaning they’re likely all ineligible to vote under law. Now, the first important dynamic to address in the context of potential voter fraud, is if votes have actually been cast under invalid registrations. Voter fraud doesn’t occur unless that takes place.
Ineligible registrations represent the potential for fraud but don’t necessarily mean it’s happened or is happening. That’s where a credible audit of voting records is important. Now notably, provable voter fraud has occurred in Arizona and has been successfully prosecuted 22 times over the past decade in the state. This includes a criminal conviction for voter fraud last year of Randy Allen Jumper who was found to have fraudulently used absentee ballots for duplicate voting. That conviction, along with others from recent years gone by for duplicate voting, justifies the concern you’ve expressed. It’s important Arizona finish their audit from last year’s election cycle and purges voter rolls of ineligible registrants. Regarding Florida’s process for reconciling voter rolls, that happens in multiple ways.
The Florida Division of Elections regularly reconciles Florida’s voter rolls. This includes monthly purging of ineligible voters which occurs at both county level, through Supervisors of Elections, and the state level. Purging happens for the following reasons:
- Moved out of state
- Felony conviction
- Voter requests in writing to be removed
- Inactive for two or more years and unresponsive to state requests to remain active
This year alone 370,566 previously registered voters have been purged from Florida’s rolls through the reconciliation process. That’s a number which is fairly typical. That’s to say Florida’s long been among the most diligent in reconciling voter rolls to aid in preventing the opportunity for voter fraud through illegible registrations. And to that end the state just recently added another tool to the toolkit for voter integrity. The ERIC system.
Two years ago, the state joined ERIC or the Electronic Registration Information Center, created by the Pew Trust, for the purpose of helping reconcile voter rolls between states. This year marked the first the state was fully up and running with it for the purpose of comparing voter rolls in our state for duplicate registrations in other states. 30 states and Washington D.C. are members of ERIC and thus able to compare rolls across states. In this regard not only does Florida have an additional fail safe to aid in preventing multiple state registrations/voting, but we’re also able to aid others with their efforts to right their voter rolls. It’s my hope that eventually all states will join ERIC, but then again, the remaining twenty states have to want to ensure they have more accurate voter rolls.
As for Florida, our process is among the most rigorous in the country and helps guard against what’s reflected in the Arizona story that prompted your concerns.