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In a Wednesday morning tweet, President Trump returned to his campaign refrain of widespread electoral problems and called for “an investigation into voter fraud, including those registered to vote in two states.”
Within hours, it was revealed that at least five people close to Trump — daughter Tiffany, son-in-law Jared Kushner, adviser Stephen K. Bannon, treasury nominee Steven Mnuchin and press secretary Sean Spicer — are registered to vote in more than one state.
They are not alone. A 2012 Pew Charitable Trusts report estimated that 2.75 million Americans were on the voter rolls in more than one state and that 1.8 million dead people remained on the rolls.
Like Trump’s family members and associates, these are people who registered to vote legally, but when they moved or passed away, their names were not deleted from voter lists.
It’s not illegal to be registered to vote in more than one state, but it is illegal to vote more than once. By holding more than one registration, a voter could conceivably drive across state lines to cast ballots in different places. Or a voter could request an absentee ballot in one state and vote in person in another state. Such scenarios, even if only a few instances have actually occurred, concern many Americans.
Whose responsibility is it to ensure that voter lists are accurate?
Is it the job of the voters? When they move and register in a new state, should they remember to contact the clerk’s office in their former state to cancel their registration? Should relatives or friends of a person who just passed away be charged with notifying the county clerk?
Some diligent Americans do this. But most expect that the state will find out about a move or a death through government records. This is where the system breaks down.