News Release

Voter Rolls and Election Day

ION SANCHO
Available for a limited number of interviews, Sancho is elections supervisor for Leon County in Florida. He said today: “Florida’s new statewide voter registration database may result in thousands of Floridians not being allowed to vote despite their good-faith efforts to register to vote. The three previous efforts by Florida Secretaries of State to create accurate databases determining the eligibility of voters, in 1998, 2000, and 2004, were abysmal failures. We’ll all find out how good this database is on November 7, 2006.” Sancho will be in New York City on Sunday and Monday.

See: “Documentary to Examine Ballot Security” in Florida Today.
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JUSTIN LEVITT
Associate counsel with the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center, Levitt said today: “We remain concerned that problems with the voter rolls will impact eligible citizens, and we urge voters who encounter problems at the polls to persevere in the face of administrative difficulties. People should not be discouraged if their names are not found in the poll book — at a minimum, they should demand a provisional ballot.

“For the first time this year, each state is required to have a computerized statewide voter list, replacing what had been local lists of varying quality. These new systems are extremely large and extremely complex, and were put together at an aggressive pace; as with any complex technology project, there could well be glitches in the first big test this election.

“Moreover, particular state procedures are likely to cause problems for some voters. For example, eligible citizens may have problems getting on the rolls in states like North Carolina or South Dakota, which require that a voter’s registration information match information on the motor vehicles or Social Security database before the voter can be registered to vote. Typos and other inconsistencies could prevent eligible voters from getting on the rolls. The Brennan Center successfully litigated a case in Washington state on this issue, but problems remain elsewhere around the country. In Florida, if registration information doesn’t ‘match,’ the voter must vote a provisional ballot, and return to the office of the county supervisor within three days with documentary proof of a driver’s license or Social Security number. And states like Ohio have not publicized their practices, and could well be implementing versions of these ‘no match, no vote’ rules.

“Other procedures may create problems with purges of eligible citizens. As states consolidate local lists statewide, they are also attempting to remove duplicate or ineligible entries, on a greatly expanded scale. Such cleaning is laudable, but must not sweep eligible voters out in the process. We remain concerned that purges undertaken without public scrutiny, and under pressure from federal officials, may cause eligible citizens to be struck from the lists. Given that most of these purges are poorly publicized, we may only find out about the problems with the purges for the first time on Election Day.”
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HARVEY WASSERMAN
Wasserman co-authored the book What Happened in Ohio? and has co-written the recent piece “Will Ken Blackwell find the ways to steal Ohio 2006 as he did in 2004?” which states: “Since 2000, under Blackwell’s supervision, Boards of Elections in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and Toledo have eliminated some 500,000 voters from their registration rolls. Nearly all are in heavily Democratic urban areas. In a state where some 5.6 million people voted for president in 2004, this represents nearly 10 percent of the electorate.”

In related news, see AP: “Ohio Seeks to Appeal Judge’s Suspension of Voter ID Law.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167