Accurate Voter Registration Lists Are Essential To Election Integrity

RNLA Executive Director Michael Thielen wrote today in the Daily Callerabout yesterday's House Committee on Administration hearing on state voter registration list maintenance and the importance of accurate voter registration records:

Enabling fraud is not the only problem with messy voter registration rolls.  Inaccurate rolls also create the opportunity for honest mistakes that negatively impact the voting process.  They contribute to long lines and congestion at the polling place. Voters are also frustrated when they show up at the polling place not properly registered in the correct precinct.  Logistically, inaccurate rolls require states and localities to waste money on ballots, poll workers, and other Election Day resources for ghost voters who do not exist or moved years ago.  As Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson pointed out in the hearing yesterday, the money that is spent unnecessarily on preparing for non-existent voters is desperately needed elsewhere, such as updating technology and security in voting machines. 

Inaccurate rolls also distort turnout numbers, making it seem like a state or county had lower turnout than it actually did.  Lawson described how Indiana completed a voter registration list clean-up process statewide, removing inaccurate records from the rolls, after the 2016 election.  Because of legal provisions regarding timing of maintenance procedures, the process could not be completed before the presidential election.  If it had been, Indiana would have had 65% voter turnout in 2016, instead of the 55% it actually reported.  That is a massive difference, and it would make a tremendous difference in voter perception of the election and the level of civic engagement as well. 

This is why accurate voter registration lists enjoy bipartisan support.  Every bipartisan presidential election commission in the last 20 years has recommended procedures to help states better maintain their lists.

While there is broad support in theory for voter registration list maintenance, liberals oppose most efforts to clean up the rolls:

While liberals pay lip service to accurate voter lists, when it comes down to the painstaking work of actually maintaining accurate official rolls, liberals and Democrats fight to ban nearly every tool that hardworking election officials have at their disposal. . . . Lawson bemoaned the fact that when a state seeks to clean up its voter rolls, activist organizations always sue the state for its attempt to follow the law.  A prime example — a challenge to Ohio’s voter registration record clean-up program, let by the ACLU and other liberal organizations, is currently pending before the Supreme Court, which will hear oral argument on the important case on November 8.

Mr. Thielen concludes by pointing to recent news stories about messy voter rolls in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania, lamenting that liberals have turned this into a controversial issue, and thanking the Committee on House Administration for looking into state voter registration list maintenance.