WAMU 88.5 : Morning Edition

Virginia Elections Board Won't Investigate Voter Registration Nonprofit

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The Virginia State Board of Elections has decided not to ask for a formal investigation into the activities of the Voter Participation Center (VPC). The center sent out mass mailings to facilitate voter registration that prompted hundreds of complaints. 

News reports of ineligible recipients — including a deceased dog named Mozart — had prompted GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign to ask the state to investigate possible criminal acts and review or reject the resulting 16,000 pre-populated voter applications. 

Elections Board Chair Charlie Judd listed numerous complaints during a meeting of the three-member board Monday, adding that some mailings caused confusion and even heartbreak.

"But this one makes me say, 'Shame on you,'" he said. "The voter application was filled out and sent to an address in the name of an 8-year-old baby girl deceased." 

The lists came from vendors as the nonprofit VPC tried to reach 2 million unregistered Virginians, said former Federal Election Commissioner Scott Thomas, who is serving as VPC's attorney in the case. 

"Part of the program is to work with the list-cleaning system that's in place to do better and better and apply all of those 13 additional protocols, as they're called, to prevent the kinds of problems that we, as I said, regret," Thomas. 

Virginia elections board members applauded the goals and said if the Center does a better job of screening its list, they would not request an investigation. 

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