As state officials scramble to rebut claims of voter purging and blocked registrations made in a recent report, they're also revealing their missteps. Officials in two swing states have admitted that they are double -- and sometimes triple -- checking new voter registrations, which could lead to eligible voters voters being turned away from polls.
In North Carolina, one of the states fingered in the New York Times investigation published yesterday, Gary Bartlett, director of the Board of Elections defended his state's handling of new voter registrations, claiming the BOE was verifying both drivers license numbers and social security numbers if new voters provide both on their application.
In Indiana, a swing state that has also had a large uptick in requests to the SSA for voter registration verifications, Matt Tusing, the deputy secretary of state and a Republican, told the Indianapolis Star that Indiana officials have been verifying the Social Security number on every card, as wells as running checks with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Correction and death records.
"Some states don't check against all those sources," he told the paper.
In both cases, that's far more verification than is required under federal law, and the superfluous checking of both numbers could lead to eligible vote registrations not being verified -- something that could disproportionately affect Democrats, who have registered in higher numbers this year.
According to the Help America Vote Act of 2002, states must exhaust checks in their own identification databases -- like drivers licenses and ID cards -- before turning to the often unreliable federal database with the Social Security Administration. Yesterday's Times report alleges that states like Colorado have been improperly relying on the SSA to verify voter registrations.