Friday, November 03, 2006

Snowbirds Registered in Two Places or Two Distinct Voters?

It’s not every day that we comment on articles in publications a thousand miles away, but maybe the chilly New York morning has us subconsciously longing for more temperate climates. This morning the Palm Beach Post ran a story about an activist searching for double-voting in Palm Beach and New York.

Bill Skinner, the Secretary of the Republican Club of Central Palm Beach, found, as he describes it, 11,609 people who are registered in both Palm Beach County and New York State. The Palm Beach Post correctly pointed out that “being registered in more than one state isn’t illegal, but casting more than one ballot in an election is a felony.” Mr. Skinner says he plans to follow up on his research after Election Day to see if any of those “dual registrants” actually voted in both states.

Two big problems with Mr. Skinner's suspicions: first, as the Post noted, it is very likely that most of the supposed dual registrants had probably just moved to Florida and had forgot to cancel their registrations. (Heck, we're lucky if we remember to forward our mail every time we move.)

Second (not noted in the Post Article): he compiled his list of 11,609 people by matching only first name, last name, and date of birth. It is fairly like that some of the "matches" are actually false positives. For instance, what if there are two women named Susan Jones, one in Palm Beach County and one in New York, who were both born on October 1st, 1964? Thus, the mere fact that a Susan Jones in Palm Beach County and in New York both cast votes is not, in and of itself evidence of voter fraud. Similarly, a search of only first and last names would reveal Susan M. Jones and Susan L. Jones as the same person.

We applaud Mr. Skinner for taking an active interest in the upcoming election, but we hope that he will add more criteria to his post-election analysis before making any accusations of voter fraud.

Update: Also check out our Investigator's Guide to "Voter Fraud."

Categories: General, Voting

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