Whether you believe, or not, that voting fraud is a problem in the U.S., one thing is certain: Tidying up outdated voter rolls is sometimes easier said than done. Just ask election officials in the nation’s largest city. After an independent review found that New York City’s voting lists contained people who were dead or in prison, elections officials began an aggressive housecleaning purge in 2014 and 2015 that eliminated more than 200,000 supposedly invalid registrations ahead of last year’s elections. The result? A record number of complaints during the 2016 presidential primary from legal voters who turned up to cast a ballot, but found that they were no longer registered. “Democracy itself is under attack,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, declared last week soon after announcing plans to join a federal lawsuit against the board over the way the purge was handled.
New York City’s bungled purge offers a cautionary tale for elected officials, led by President Donald Trump, who warn with increasing urgency that inaccurate voter rolls are leading to voter fraud across America.
Trump vowed in recent days to establish a commission to examine the situation. Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller sounded the alarm again on Sunday.
“You have millions of people who are registered in two states or who are dead who are registered to vote. And you have 14 percent of noncitizens, according to academic research, at a minimum, are registered to vote, which is an astonishing statistic,” Miller said, using a statistic hotly contested by many academics.