MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com)– Early voting started Wednesday in Shelby County. But, in many areas of the country, a significant number of voters won’t be heading to the polls. There’s a good reason for that. It may sound crass, but the quick explanation is- they’re dead.
Nearly two million deceased voters are still registered in the U.S.; another three million are registered in more than one state. Working to purge the voter rolls is an ongoing process.
Robert Meyers, the chairman of the Shelby County Election Commission said, “Examining our voter registration rolls is something the county election commission does, potentially daily to try to maintain its integrity.”
Election officials say the problem is not as prevalent in Shelby County.
“The last year or two we have removed about 10,000 people from the voter rolls because we had information they passed away,” Meyers told abc24.com.
Arkansas also has safeguards in place to protect voter integrity, like monthly accounting of the deceased.
Alex Reed of the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office told abc24.com, “Monthly we send that to county clerks so they can clean up their voter registration files.”
But, there’s no way to determine the exact number of dead voters still registered, or those registered in multiple states.
“No, we don’t have a handle on a number like that,” said Reed.
While education is ongoing among election officials, some questionable registrations seem destined to fall through the cracks.
“There probably are some additional individuals that we just have not captured yet,” Meyers said. “But I believe that number is going to be small; probably less than a few hundred, maybe even less than a hundred.”
Elections commissions also match social security numbers and track felons for removal from voter roles.
For a variety of reasons- it’s hard to catch everything.
“This is done on a county by county basis all across the country,” Meyers told abc24.com, “so counties are going to vary in their sophistication and in their ability to mange this kind of information.”
State governments have reached agreements to share information on people who may be registered in multiple states
But, problems remain.
Pamela Weaver of the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office told abc24.com that as of August 13, 2011, Mississippi counties had more people registered to vote than total living population.
Clearly, that does not compute.