Pew: 1.8 M Dead Registered to Vote

Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012 07:00 AM

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A new report says about 24 million voter registrations in the United States contain significant errors, showing the system is in a shambles.

The study released Tuesday by the Pew Center on the States found that about 1.8 million dead people are still on the rolls and 2.5 million can vote in more than one state.

And 51 million, or one in four, eligible citizens are not registered to vote at all.

About 12 million registrations contain address inaccuracies, which means mailings aren't getting to them. Researchers say they don't see evidence of widespread fraud but believe outdated state systems are failing to keep pace with changes in people's lives.

In conjunction with Pew's report, eight states said they are working this year on a centralized data system to help identify people whose registrations may be out of date. Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed says he thinks it will bring more trust and confidence to the election system.

Part of the problem, the center found was the costly paper systems used in the U.S. which costs 12 times more than Canada, which has paperless systems and  costs just 35 cents to keep up a list in an election year. In contrast, most of Canada's citizens are registered to vote.

Pew recommends online registration.

“Voter registration is the gateway to participating in our democracy, but these antiquated, paper-based systems are plagued with errors and inefficiencies,” David Becker, director of Pew’s Election Initiatives, said in a statement. "These problems waste taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence, and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity of our elections.”

 

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