Republican-led purge of voter rolls targets seven million people

By our reporter
1 November 2014

According to a report published October 29 by Al Jazeera America, election officials in 27 states have joined forces in an effort to purge as many as seven million voters from the rolls, denying them their constitutional right to vote.

The article by investigative reporter Greg Palast profiles the Interstate Crosscheck program, under which the states share voter registration databases to check for matches. The 27 states had a combined total of 110 million registered voters, and the crosschecking of names generated a master list of seven million names. These would supposedly represent individuals seeking to vote in more than one state, a felony punishable by two to ten years in prison.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who initiated the scheme, claimed that the cross-checking required matching first, last and middle name or initial; date of birth; suffixes; and Social Security number, or at least its last four digits.

But according to Palast: “That was the sales pitch. But the actual lists show that not only are middle names commonly mismatched and suffix discrepancies ignored, even birthdates don’t seem to have been taken into account. Moreover, Crosscheck deliberately ignores Social Security mismatches, in the few instances when the numbers are even collected.”

Most of the states involved refused to give any but the most general details of Interstate Crosscheck, but three of them—Georgia, Virginia and Washington—released their lists of matching names, totaling two million in all.

Quoting Palast again: “The three states’ lists are heavily weighted with names such as Jackson, Garcia, Patel and Kim—ones common among minorities, who vote overwhelmingly Democratic.”

He notes that one in seven African American voters was “listed as under suspicion of having voted twice.” He continued, “This also applies to 1 in 8 Asian-Americans and 1 in 8 Hispanic voters.” For white voters, the ratio fell to 1 in 11, clearly demonstrating the discriminatory purpose of the voter-purging plan.

Officials have already begun removing names from the voter rolls, including 41,637 in Virginia. Yet there have been few prosecutions for such alleged double voting, an indication that the “crime” is entirely fictitious, a mere pretext for shrinking the electorate.

Of 192,207 supposed double voters in North Carolina, not a single one has been prosecuted. The state board of elections said, “This agency has made no determination as to which portion of these [lists] represent data error or voter fraud.”

The vast majority of the seven million names represent either multiple voters with the same name or voters who have moved from one state to another and have no intention of voting twice. The state election authorities simply have not caught up with the changes.

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