As Seen On News 5

Feb 15, 2012 7:36 PM by Matt Stafford

"Significant errors" in voter registrations across US; EPC watching close

A study from the Pew Center on the States says one out of every eight voter registrations in the United States contains significant errors or is no longer valid; about 24 million in all. The Pew Center says there's a need for better technology to maintain records and streamline the processes.

El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams says they've got 237,019 active voters right now on their rolls; there are 66,152 inactive registrations, where the mailings have been returned to sender.

Those are individuals who, were it not for the processes in place, would be listed on the voter registration rolls," says Williams. "We do those mailings to make sure we're keeping an accurate list."

The Pew study points out that many of the problems seen in their report come from the keeping up with the voters. They say 2.75 million voters have active registrations in multiple states, and there are about 12 million records that have incorrect addresses or errors in the information that make it hard for mailings to reach the voters. Also, nearly 2 million deceased people are still listed as active voters across the country, according to the study.

Williams says Colorado and El Paso County have systems in place to catch people who shouldn't be in the lists any longer.

"We compare death rolls, and so we don't have the huge number of deceased voters that they refer to," says Williams, adding that they remove those names every month.

Williams says not every state has that type of system, but Colorado does.

The Clerk and Recorder's office does more checks, like the mailings, on years with more elections -- like 2012, a presidential election year. Office assistants say they're getting at least a couple hundred voter registrations in the mail everyday.

Williams says that there is a human element to the count, so there is a chance for errors. He says filling out information online is helpful; it's easier than deciphering sloppy handwriting. It's also a good idea to take care of registration issues as soon as you can; Williams says it ensures you'll be active for any special elections that may come up.

Not all errors will keep your vote from going through; Williams points out that his daughter's voter registration had a misspelling on her middle name. He says the mistake was caught, it was corrected, and her vote was counted just fine. He says it is a good idea to double check your information, and update it when you move.

To check your voter registration, update it, or fill out forms for the first time; head to www.govotecolorado.com.

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