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Duplicate Voter Registrations Plague Florida’s Electoral System

By: Contributor - Jul 7, 2014, 1:21 pm

EspañolWhen it comes to voting, the rules are clear: one person, one address, and one vote.

At least that’s how it’s supposed to work.

But Andrew Ladanowski, owner of the computer software company AddinSolutions Inc., suspects Florida’s Division of Elections isn’t cross checking.

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To verify his suspicions, he did “a very quick analysis” of Miami-Dade’s voting system and turned up 44 voter IDs issued to the same person. Elections officials admit 42 of those 44 were in fact duplicates.

All in all, some 762 Florida voters have more than one county-issued voter ID card. Some are registered with the same address, and others are registered in different counties.

On its own, duplicate registrations do not constitute fraud. Lots of people move or change names, leaving old registrations on the rolls. But with no one checking, duplicate voting could become a problem.

“Testing this small sample, I informed the SOE (the supervisor of elections) that a person voted twice in person in the November 2012 election,” Ladanowski said.

Elections officials say it was a clerical error.

Another voter cast absentee ballots in Gainesville and Miami, he said.

“Was there someone bold enough to have an absentee ballot delivered to an alternate address [for which] they were already registered with an alternate voter ID?” Ladanowski asked.

Florida Watchdog contacted the state’s Division of Elections and Miami-Dade Department of Elections to ask what security measures were in place to prevent duplicate voting, but neither agency responded.

Separating clerical errors from cheats is no easy task.

“I have no way of verifying whether it was clerical error versus voter fraud,” Ladanowski said, though he did admit he didn’t find any hard evidence of intentional fraud.

What he found was “a lack of controls in place.”

“The state needs to have someone analyze the data more carefully, checking for maiden names and potential aliases, trying whenever possible to use the Social Security number [to] generate the appropriate reports and have those voter registrations reviewed by appropriate staff,” Ladanowski said.

“The process of confirming a duplication between two counties would require emailing and phoning each other to confirm the documentation. This needs to be done.”

And then there’s the issue of convicted felons serving prison terms, deceased people, and illegal immigrants on the voter lists.

“O.J. Simpson was registered as [a] voter until last year. He was not removed (because) his felony occurred in Nevada,” Ladanowski said.

Governor Rick Scott (FL-R) in 2012 tried to purge the voting rolls of convicted felons, dead people, and non-citizens, but the effort was blocked in federal court. The purge of voter lists was happening too close to the election.

Ladanowski said he hopes his work is a wakeup call and the state’s election officials will look into the matter before the November election.

“These are simple mistakes, which the software they are using should have automatically picked up, he said: “If these simple mistakes are slipping through, I fear what other mistakes are being made.”

“The state’s supervisor of elections software should not issue a voter ID until they run a check [to see] if information provided matches an existing individual’s. If it does, this should then trigger the local supervisor of elections to check the data more closely.”

Ladanowski said there’s nothing stopping people from voting in multiple states, because states do not share voter information.

“The supervisor of elections for each state should be sharing data with each other to ensure people are only voting once during an election.”

Watchdog.org reported last week that more than 6.9 million US Americans are registered to vote in two or more states, but that included data from just 28 states and not the three largest — California, Texas, and Florida.

This article first appeared with Florida Watchdog.