Legitimate voters have been targets of clever campaigns to keep them from the polls. Identification laws, harsh sentences for violating them and the curtailment of early voting have all been used in states to discourage certain subsets of voters from exercising their rights.
In many cases the rules have been enacted by Republicans and opposed by Democrats who fear their members will face added hurdles to voting. But a national move to bring more integrity to the voter rolls is getting support from both parties across the country.
In August Pennsylvania joined 23 states in an effort to identify voters who are registered in more than one state. Election officials say the initiative is needed because registration systems cannot keep up with a society of voters who move from state to state.
The Pew Center on the States reported last year that 24 million voter registrations nationwide are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate, more than 1.8 million deceased people are on the voter rolls and 2.75 million people are registered to vote in more than one state.
The alliance of states uses names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of registered voters to weed out duplicates. If an apparent duplicate is found, the voter is contacted. If a voter can't be reached, the name stays on the rolls for two more federal elections.
It's one thing to erect barriers to voting, but the voter rolls must have integrity. In America, registration should be simple and voting should be encouraged. But once an election is enough.
First Published October 15, 2013 8:00 PM