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Pa. joins voter watch

Published by James O'Toole on .

Pennsylvania will join 23 other states feeding election information into a data base designed to uncover duplicate voter registrations across state lines.

Carol Aichele, the secretary of the commonwealth, announced the initiative at a conference of county election officials in Philadelphia. The move to counter illegal duplicate voting is unrelated to the in-state voter identification legislation, whose enforcement remains on hold, which has been the focus of litigation and controversy throughout the Corbett administration.

The data base, maintained by election officials in Kansas, is designed to ensure that voters can't cast ballots in two states at once. Ron Ruman, spokesman for the department of state, said the operations of the cross-state data base is similar to Pennsylvania's existing internal system of seeking out voters registered in more than one county. In that operation, when a voter registration match is found, election officials in the county with the earliest registration is found are notified by the state when a duplicate registration emerges.

They then attempt to contact the voter to ascertain whether he or she has moved to a new voting address, allowing them to purge their roles of the outdated information. If a voter moves without notifying election officials, it can take as long as nine years to remove the old registration.

The department of state said that Pennsylvania will begin supplying its information to the multi-state consortium in January, 2014, allowing a list of possible duplicates to be available shortly afterwards. Any names that emerge will be forwarded to county elections officials for checking similar to the procedures in place for in-state duplications.

"That's been in place for a number of years and it works very well,'' Mr. Ruman said of the existing procedures.
Mr. Ruman said the multi-state consortium has already flagged more than 5 million instances of potential duplicate registration, although he noted that the vast majority of those are not believed to be related to any attempts to vote improperly in more than one state.

"It's a mobile society and people move,'' he said.

Other states joining in the voluntary program include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia.

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