Election Experts Identify Safeguards to Prevent Registration Fraud

Nov 16, 2007

WASHINGTON — Today, the Subcommittee on Elections, led by Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Subcommittee Ranking Republican Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.,  conducted the second day of the voter registration and list maintenance hearing where Members heard from election administrators testifying on the safeguards needed to protect the  nation’s election security.  

Expert witnesses who testified before the Subcommittee warned Members about the correlation between increased restrictions on voter list maintenance, and a decrease in elections security.  Former Vice President of the Virginia Electoral Board Association, Edward O’Neal, explained how various provisions of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) prohibit election administrators from removing outdated and false voter information from voter registration rolls for as many as ten years.  According to O’Neal and other witnesses who testified before the Subcommittee, prohibiting the removal of erroneous information makes it impossible for election officials to maintain database integrity and prevent voter fraud.

Director of the St. Louis City Election Board, Scott Leiendecker, cited an example from November 2007 where city election officials received over five thousand fraudulent voter registration applications submitted by third party organizations. According to Leiendecker, the applications included information of deceased individuals, invalid addressed, and underage voters. In his testimony, Leiendecker noted that, “regional leaders from at least one community activist group, namely [the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now], have admitted that potentially thousands of voter registration cards submitted were fraudulent.”

In addition to expressing concerns over restrictions on list maintenance, multiple witnesses suggested that a simple identification requirement would greatly assist in the prevention of voter fraud.   In his testimony, O’Neal urged Congress to, “take immediate action to ensure that the votes of legitimate voters are not diluted by fraud by requiring positive identification at registration and at the polls.”

After the hearing, Subcommittee Ranking Republican Kevin McCarthy expressed his delight with the diverse spectrum of witnesses permitted to testify before the Subcommittee. “Although this proceeding is known as a Minority witness day, the Majority requested that three of their witnesses appear before this Subcommittee to discuss Voter Registration and List Maintenance,” McCarthy noted.  “I was delighted to honor that request because I believe that hearing all points of view enhances the legislative process, and it is also in keeping with the generous offer of our Chair to move towards greater equality between the Majority and Minority, with her recent commitment during our hearing on Election Day Registration and Provisional Voting to institute a 6-4 ratio witness allocation, which moves away from previous 3-1 ratios.” 






For more information, contact the Republican Committee press office at (202) 225-8281.