Disastrous Voter Rolls Lead to Chaos in Elections

What needs to be done to ensure free and fair elections - and to strengthen voter confidence.

The most important election integrity document is the voter roll. It tells election officials who is eligible to vote. It controls to who and where automatic vote by mail ballots are sent. Inaccurate voter rolls leads to chaos in elections.

Clean and accurate voter rolls are essential to free and fair elections.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation, of which I am President, has sued Secretaries of State across the country to remove deceased and duplicate registrants from the voter rolls. In Pennsylvania, we won litigation that resulted in removing over 20,000 deceased registrants from the voter rolls. We have similar ongoing litigation in Michigan to remove over 25,000 deceased registrants from the voter rolls.

Now, we are exposing New Jersey’s disastrous voter rolls.

Over 8,000 New Jersey residents managed to become registered twice or more under variations of their names. One individual was even registered six times. These duplicate registrations make it possible for a person to cast more than one ballot and extremely troubling when elections are held by mass vote by mail.

Additionally, New Jersey has over 2,000 registrants who are 105 years old or older. These thousands of registrants aged well beyond 100 years deserve closer examination. With the average life expectancy in New Jersey being just over 80 years old, it is safe to say that most of these registrants are likely deceased and need to be removed from the voter roll.

For example, one of these registrants is Patrick DePaola. He worked for 50 years as a printer for The New York Times. He died over a decade ago but remains an active voter today on New Jersey’s rolls.

Other startling errors include over 33,000 registration records with placeholder or fictitious dates of birth. This includes a registrant whose birthyear is listed as 956, stretching back centuries before Christopher Columbus discovered America. There are even registrants who are listed as being born in the future in 2028 and 2029. Based on these dates of birth, it sounds like we’re living in a vampire or sci-fi time traveling movie.

These are large, serious errors that New Jersey must fix before the 2022 elections. We have filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey Secretary of State to try address these problems. 

It is more important than ever that New Jersey and the other 49 states maintain accurate voter rolls and implement laws that improve election security.

Voter confidence in our election processes is at a historic low. A new Rasmussen poll found that 55% of likely U.S. voters believe cheating likely affected the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. When over half of the U.S. population believes cheating changed the outcome of an election, there is a problem.

Americans have lost trust in our election process. States need to restore voter confidence by doing their jobs and maintaining accurate and up to date voter rolls.

States should also implement election integrity laws to strengthen voter confidence.

They should implement laws that require identification such as voter ID. Voters should be required to prove they are who they say they are.

Additionally, states should create election crime prosecutorial units like Florida just did. This reform will address the problem of election crimes not being prosecuted. Most county prosecutors lack the resources and expertise to prosecute election crime cases. This effectively creates deterrence from committing election crimes and is the innovative thinking we need to combat voter fraud in 2022.  

But first, let’s start with the basics and ensure that all 50 states have accurate voter rolls.

J. Christian Adams is the President of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a former Justice Department attorney, and current commissioner on the United States Commission for Civil Rights.


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