PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele today announced Pennsylvania is taking an historic step toward protecting the integrity of every vote, by joining a multi-state consortium to identify voters who may be registered to vote in more than one state.
"Protecting the integrity of every vote by making sure only those individuals legally entitled to cast ballots determine the outcome of our elections is a priority of Governor Corbett and of mine," Aichele said at the 2013 County Election Officials Conference meeting in Philadelphia.
"One concern about the integrity of voter lists has always been whether someone who moves to another state could be registered and possibly cast votes in both states, which is against the law. Participating in this consortium is our best way to prevent that," said Aichele, whose department oversees elections in Pennsylvania.
Several years ago, a handful of Midwestern states created a plan to cross-check voter registration databases. This program, called the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, will include 24 states with Pennsylvania in the fold. Kansas operates the crosscheck program at no cost to participating states.
In 2012, Aichele said, the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program discovered more than five million potential duplicate registrations.
"We are a mobile society in the United States, and it is important that election officials use available tools to make sure only legally registered individuals vote, and cast only one ballot on Election Day," Aichele said.
"I believe this program can help us remove from Pennsylvania's voter rolls people who have moved to other states and registered to vote there. This will improve the integrity of our voter lists, protect the legally cast ballots by our citizens and further bolster public confidence in our electoral process," Aichele said.
Pennsylvania will provide data for the crosscheck program in January 2014 and should have a list of potential duplicate registrations early next year.
"We will then ask county election officials to use the same process for contacting voters to verify their address and, if appropriate, remove them from the Pennsylvania voter rolls, as is now used when someone moves to another county within Pennsylvania," Aichele said. "By using the same process that is now in place I hope to keep the workload for our county officials to a minimum."
When voters move from one county to another within Pennsylvania, and register to vote at their new residence, the potential duplicate registration shows up in Pennsylvania's Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors (SURE) system. The Department of State then notifies the county election office having the older address for this voter to contact that voter and verify the correct address. If the new address is verified, the voter is removed from the rolls by his or her former county election office, thus preventing someone from voting twice.
Prior to the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, there was no similar method to identify potential duplicate registrations among states.
In addition to Pennsylvania, other states in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck 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.
For more information on registering to vote and voting in Pennsylvania, visit www.votespa.com.
Media contact: Ron Ruman, 717-783-1621
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of State