The Rhode Island secretary of state has found that nearly 20% of registered voters live outside the state. Most of those registrants are people who have moved out of state or died. But the fact that they are still carried as eligible voters should worry anyone concerned with election integrity.
President Trump's Election Integrity Commission will no doubt be looking closely at this problem, because Rhode Island's situation is not unique. A 2016Pew Center report found millions of dead or otherwise ineligible voters on state voter registration rolls. This is an open invitation to fraud.
The Providence Journal reports that Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea conducted an audit of the state’s voter registry and identified some 150,000 non-Rhode Islanders registered to vote in the state. Gorbea says this group of non-state residents is primarily composed of citizens who have since moved to other jurisdictions or died and does not suggest widespread fraud.“It’s not really fraud,” Gorbea told the Journal. “It’s really just inaccuracies.”
"All is well" is hardly the attitude one should expect from an official in charge of election integrity.
The Journal previously reported that there were 781,770 registered voters in the state in 2016. As such, the group of non-state residents Gorbea’s audit identified account for 19 percent of all registered voters in Rhode Island.President Donald Trump convened a commission on election integrity in May, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a hardline immigration restrictionist. Critics charge the panel is little more than a pretext to enact federal laws which stymie ballot access. Several states, including California and Virginia, have refused requests to cooperate with the commission’s work.Still, Gorbea concedes an inaccurate voter registry jeopardizes the state’s elections.“[H]aving clean voter lists [is] critical to preserving the integrity of our elections and ensure that elections are fair, fast and accurate,” she said.
Every time a state proposes purging registration rolls of the dead or ineligible registrants, we hear howls of outrage from liberals about "disenfranchising" voters. After all, just because someone's dead doesn't mean they shouldn't have the right to vote, right?
In any purge of the rolls, there are going to be mistakes. Liberals lovingly highlight those errors, trying to claim that there is a deep, dark, conservative effort to "suppress" minority voters. Meanwhile, millions of people - living or dead - on voter rolls around the country maintain their eligibility despite evidence to the contrary.
Would officials be able to detect a concerted effort to employ those false registrations in a voter fraud scheme? Hopefully, that's one question the presidential commission will be able to answer. There have been numerousexamples of activsts registering dead people - some of whom actually "voted." Are these isolated incidents or the tip of the iceberg? No one knows. By its very nature, voter fraud is difficult to detect. Are those responsible for the integrity of our elections really looking hard enough at the question?
But don't ask liberals about it. Any effort to discuss this issue is met with charges of racism and voter suppression. Considering how much we're in the dark about how bad a problem voter fraud truly is, any effort to get some answers should be met with bi-partisan approval. It isn't. And that makes many of us even more suspicious that many liberals simply don't want to know who widespread and serious this problem may be.