Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Voter Registration Shenanigans
There's a disturbing story by George Knapp of KLAS TV about how hundreds or maybe thousands of voter registration forms were thrown out rather than being turned into the state by a company who offered to register voters outside of supermarkets in Nevada. Former employees of the company, Voters Outreach of America (it also goes by America Votes), say that their bosses intentionally trashed the registration forms of Democrats. This means that honest, hardworking Americans who think they have registered to vote will show up at the polls on Election Day and be told there is no record of their registration and that they can't vote. (In theory, they should be given provisional ballots, but these in turn won't be counted if their registration can't be verified.) UPDATE: This story indicates that voters whose registration forms were tossed won't be allowed to re-register.

Meanwhile, Channel 9 News in Denver is reporting that it has found 719 voter registration forms that were wrongly, perhaps fraudulently, filled out. One guy, Gerald Obi, says he registered 35 times so that his buddies who were getting paid for each voter they registered would make more money.

These storied make me sick.

But, there might be something we could do about them. By 2006, all states will be required to have a statewide database of all their voter registrations. This system would eliminate duplicates, as we're seeing in Colorado. But, it would also enable states to conduct voter registration up to and even on election day by having each polling place hooked into the statewide database. So, if there is some screw up, as in Nevada, a voter could simply re-register on election day and cast their vote. Six states already conduct election day registration. Hopefully more will look into it in the future.

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