February 15, 2012 / 6:05 PM / 7 years ago

One in 8 U.S. voter registrations faulty: survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One in eight U.S. voter registrations is invalid or markedly inaccurate, the result of an outdated and inefficient registration system, a Pew Center on the States report said on Tuesday.

Voters casts their ballots in a voting booth in Dover, New Hampshire, January 8, 2008. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

More than 1.8 million dead people are listed as active U.S. voters, and about 2.75 million people have active registration in more than one state, according to the research by the non-partisan think tank.

U.S. electoral systems “are plagued with errors and inefficiencies that waste taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence, and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity of our elections,” the report said.

Largely paper-based voter registration “has not kept pace with advancing technology and a mobile society.”

The report ahead of the November general elections comes as states across the country, in contentious moves, have tightened voter identification requirements.

Voter ID laws were passed in eight states last year, and the Virginia legislature is debating bills to stiffen ID requirements. The Justice Department blocked South Carolina’s ID law in December, arguing it discriminated against minority voters.

The Pew report did not identify voter fraud as a problem, saying the inefficiencies could lead to “the perception that they (elections) lack integrity or could be susceptible to fraud.”


One reason for voter registration trouble is that Americans frequently change voting districts, the report said.

About one in eight Americans moved during the 2008 and 2010 election years. Up to 25 percent of young Americans move each year, it said.

A study Pew conducted with Oregon showed taxpayers spent $4.11 per active voter in 2008 to process registrations and keep up a voter list, or $7.67 per transaction, such as new or updated registration.

Canada spends less than 35 cents to process registrations and 93 percent of its population is registered. Canada uses modern technology for registration and data-matching methods common in the private sector, the report said.

The Pew study was carried out by RTI International, a nonpartisan North Carolina research institute. RTI used a database maintained by Catalist LLC, a Washington processor of voter information.

Editing by Daniel Trotta

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