State board of elections officials are making steady progress in updating the voter registration roll in Virginia which lists more than 10,000 people as being registered voters even though they’ve died.
The task is enormous—elections officials are pouring through some 60 million records in the Social Security Administration's death master file, said Nikki Sheridan, a spokeswoman with the Virginia State Board of Elections.
So far, officials have sifted through 15 million Social Security records obtained through the National Technical Information System and matched them against the current list of registered voters.
They have 45 million more to go.
The information has been shared with local general voter registrars who are taking steps to cancel these registered voters from the voter rolls.
There is no indication that someone has illegally registered a deceased person to vote nor is there evidence that someone has “voted” post-mortem, Sheridan said.
However, the possibly still exists and it is being carefully analyzed, she added.
State officials decided it was time for a comprehensive review of the registration list while preparing for the November general election when several discrepancies were discovered.
“An example of such a discrepancy includes identifying numerous voters on the list over the age of 100,” Sheridan said. “At that point, it became clear that SBE should perform a comprehensive review of the Virginia registered voter list with the Social Security Administration’s death master file to analyze the period of time preceding the 2009 month-to-month comparisons. Registered voter list maintenance is a priority of the agency.”
State Board of Elections has consistently performed comparisons between the Virginia registered voter list and the Social Security Administration’s death file on a month-to-month basis since 2009 but this the first comprehensive review by the agency in recent history.
Secretary of the State Board of Elections Don Palmer said he is encouraged by the efforts and the progress made.
“Virginia is committed to ensuring only eligible voters are registered to vote. Virginia will continue to work to ensure those deceased or ineligible to vote are removed timely from the voter rolls,” Palmer said.
True The Vote (TTV), a nonpartisan, grassroots election integrity organization, commended the Virginia State Board of Elections for its efforts to keep the roll accurate, according to a news release issued Friday morning.
TTV officials said it had put some 60 counties in 19 states on legal notice regarding their potential violation of Section 8 National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
Section 8 requires election officials to conduct a reasonable effort to maintain voter registration lists free from dead voters, ineligible voters and voters who have moved away, according to TTV officials.
“This will go a long way to improve faith in our voting system and set a good example for others to follow,” TTV President Catherine Engelbrecht said in a release.
“The Commonwealth of Virginia’s recent decision to purchase the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File is the optimal tool necessary to affirm that the deceased will not have ballots waiting for them on Nov. 6," said Engelbrecht.
Engelbrecht said in the release that "every legal action that state and local authorities can take to improve our election system builds confidence in the process – voter list maintenance is the keystone to election integrity.”