Project Wonderful

Friday, September 2, 2011

Today in Voter Suppression

New Mexico's Secretary of State wants to investigate 64,000 voter registrations by cross checking them with the state's Motor Vehicle Division's database. Unfortunately that's not going to work.

Here's what I found most interesting. According to the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law,"If the right to vote [in New York City] were conditioned on a proper match, up to 20 percent of new voter registrations would have been rejected solely because of data entry errors. Similar 'matching' error rates of 20-30 percent were discovered in Washington State. And the Social Security Administration has reported a 28.5 percent failed match rate nationwide." Whoa. Having worked with quite a few state voter files I guess that number should not surprise me, but it does highlight how much inaccuracy there is in our well...everything. This is why I reaaaallly think we should have a national voting database to eliminate at least some of the discrepancies that occur by moving from state to state.

The Fair Elections Legal Network wrote Secretary of State Duran objecting to the measure. "We fear that your attempt to ensure 'accuracy and integrity' in the system has had the opposite effect as unsubstantiated claims of large numbers of irregularities on voter registration records do not lead to greater accuracy of records and may, indeed, serve to undermine confidence in the system."

No one has taken legal action but the President of the the FELN implied that could be a next step. In his letter he quoted the following New Mexico state law "It is unlawful for the qualified elector's month and day of birth or any portion of the qualified elector's social security number required on the certificate of registration to be copied, conveyed or used by anyone other than the person registering to vote, either before or after it is filed with the county clerk, and by elections administrators in their official capacity."

It sounds like the FELM is right. The Secretary of State's actions, though possibly well intentioned, would serve no purpose except to undermine confidence and threaten privacy, which would, of course, reduce voter turnout.

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