Monday, October 20, 2008

Voter Fraud Loophole

Pocono Record Writer
October 19, 2008
Voter fraud, plaguing much of the United States, has reached Monroe County. Officials point to ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) as one culprit.

A statewide system is in place to catch these problems, and a federal law requires each state to have a system like Pennsylvania's. But for the truly determined, there's a loophole big enough to drive a presidential campaign bus through.

Related Stories
Heavy turnout means more lines for Monroe voters Registered voters in Monroe County
Monroe County voter numbers as of Oct. 17

"We've had a lot of duplicate, triple registrations. Registrations that just went through in another county then they registered here a week later," said Monroe County Voter Registration Office Director Sara May-Silfee.

Multiple, false and duplicate registrations create a heavy burden on the voter registration office.

The federal government enacted the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) to place controls on the electoral process. A part of the act requires each state to create a system to centralize voter registration information. That way, counties can check registration applications against a database for prior registrations.

"We enter the last four digits of a Social Security or driver's license number, which is run through the HAVA system. If there is a discrepancy, that person goes on hold and a letter is generated and sent out to that person to fix whatever is wrong with their application," May-Silfee said.

Yet fraud still occurs. Some people, it seems, do not realize it's a crime to file a false voter registration application.

"We had one person fill out a form with a fake name. When we ran the information it came back to someone already registered. So we called that person. He said 'Oh, me and my friend were just messing around,'" May-Silfee said.

Duplicate registrations require the voter registration office to go through the process of verification and notification, which May-Silfee said wastes time on processing honest people, getting them registered, and processing and sending absentee ballots.

Another registrant gave a ridiculous name.

"We looked up the Social Security number, and it came up with a different name that was already registered," she said.

No comments: