Legitimate voters have been targets of clever campaigns to keep them from the polls. Voter-identification laws, harsh sentences for violating them, and the curtailment of early voting have been used in states to discourage some 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 greater integrity to the voter rolls is getting support from both parties across the country.
Ohio is among nearly half the states that are trying to identify voters who are registered in more than one state. Election officials say registration systems cannot keep up with a society of voters who move from state to state.
The Pew Center on the States reports that 24 million voter registrations nationwide are no longer valid or are inaccurate, more than 1.8 million dead people are on voter rolls, and 2.75 million people are registered to vote in more than one state. A center project has found about 5 million questionable voter records in 22 states and identified people who voted in multiple states.
Those facts should rile Democrats and Republicans. The alliance of states uses names, birthdates, and Social Security numbers of registered voters to weed out duplicates. If an apparent duplicate is found, the voter is contacted. If voters can’t be reached, their names stay on the rolls for two more federal elections.
It’s one thing to erect politically generated barriers to voting. But the voter rolls deserve to have integrity. In America, voter registration should be simple and voting in elections should be encouraged. Once per election is enough.