New Interactive Map Exposes Fraudulent State Voter Rolls
Many are rightfully concerned about the integrity of our national elections. If we don’t have confidence in the administration of our elections, then we don’t have trust in the results of our elections. When the American people are unsure about the results of their elections they question the legitimacy of their elected officials. This, of course, leads us to many more uncomfortable questions we would rather not have to ask ourselves, or leave for our children and grandchildren to ask themselves. It doesn’t take much to see how even the appearance of malfeasance within the electoral system can have corrosive effects to our political process.
So before we crack open voting machines and insist on open-source election software (two excellent ideas, in my opinion), there is much that can be done — and indeed, is being done — to give voters confidence that their vote matters and that they can trust the electoral process. Many states took up legislation to improve their electoral processes after the 2020 election saw unprecedented last-minute changes to voting laws and procedures. But the work of making it easy to vote and hard to cheat continues.
Many great conservative groups like Heritage Action and Honest Elections Project are working every day to raise awareness and to change election laws so that we can have confidence in our elections. Recently, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) unveiled an interactive map that allows users to easily see just how bad their state’s voter rolls are. PILF’s Interactive Voter Roll Error Database exposes how many deceased, duplicate, and other erroneous voters are currently on any given state’s voter file.
For example, in my home state of Virginia, we have 6,996 deceased voters, more than 44,000 interstate duplicate voter registrations, and 2,000 who fall under some other category of erroneous entry in the state voter file. That’s a grand total of more than 53,000 erroneous voters currently eligible to vote in my state. In 2018, Virginia had a state delegate race which ultimately had to be decided by pulling a name from a bowl because both candidates earned the same number of votes. Perhaps this could have all been avoided if the state simply cleaned up their voter file ahead of the 2018 election.
The current GOP House majority has a slim 10-member edge, and half of that margin is attributable to gains the party made in New York and California alone. These two states are very blue and, according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s interactive map, account for more than 92,000 erroneous voting registrations between them. This is significant because the 10 closest races in these states were decided by a little less than 63,000 votes. California’s 13th congressional district, for example, was decided by a 564-vote margin, and another four races in these states were decided by less than 5,000 votes — or 0.5%. You can see clearly how errors on the voter file have the potential to impact federal elections.
Only the most partisan and most cynical among us would think it’s okay to keep deceased voters on the voter file when we have elections being decided by razor-thin margins. Unfortunately, that is exactly what some cynical partisan officials have done. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D) has been fighting tooth and nail in the courts to keep deceased voters on the state’s voter file. Michiganders deserve better. Thankfully, Public Interest Legal Foundation and other groups are working diligently to challenge these partisans and clean up voter rolls.
At the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Benjamin Franklin was asked “What have we got? A republic or a monarchy?” To which he replied, “A republic, if you can keep it.” There might be grander ways one might try to restore the United States to the constitutional republic our Founding Fathers intended for us, but restoring integrity in our elections is essential to us keeping the social contract that enables our constitutional republic to continue. Just as we should not take for granted the gift that is the U.S. Constitution, we should not take for granted the painstaking work of groups like the Public Interest Legal Foundation in exposing weaknesses in our election system.
For what it’s worth, I believe there’s still time to right the ship. Our elections are a mess, there’s no way around it. But now is not the time for despair. That is how cynicism wins. We can, and must, fix our elections. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, let’s make the effort to contact our public officials and ask what they’ve done to ensure its easy to vote and hard to cheat.
Matt Carpenter is the director of FRC Action.