New Data Shows Scores of Dead People on Voter Registration Rolls | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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New Data Shows Scores of Dead People on Voter Registration Rolls

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Halloween may be over but a new report has some folks seeing dead people -- on the nation's voter registration lists.

The annual non-partisan report by Aristotle International checks to see how many registered voters who have moved or died are still on the electoral rolls -- what election experts call 'deadwood'.

John Aristotle Phillips is CEO.

"In some jurisdictions where the number of deadwood is one in seven, a candidate might as well spend one day a week campaigning in the cemetery," says Aristotle.

Aristotle says deadwood voters make it appear as if there are more eligible voters than actually exist. So voter turnout appears lower lower than it is -- and voters seem more apathetic than they actually are.

"Bottom line is dead voters make the rest of us look bad."

Paul Stenbjorn is a spokesman for the Virginia State Board of Elections.

"There's never going to be a perfect snap shot of voters in the Commonwealth of Virginia."

Stenbjorn says with five million eligible voters in the state the true number will always be in 'flux'.

"Somebody may be deceased, somebody may have been convicted of a felony. This status is always changing and these numbers are always changing," says Stenbjorn.

Virginia is cleaning up its voter databases but Stenbjorn wants to avoid something even worse

"Where we want to ensure is that people who are lawfully eligible to vote are not wrongfully disenfranchised becasue of a data management process."

Virginia has over 340,000 deadwood voters but in terms of percentage it's below the national average.

Mana Rabiee reports...

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