NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

One in Eight Voter Registrations Inaccurate

February 15, 2012

Approximately 24 million active voter registrations in the United States -- one of every eight -- are no longer valid or have significant inaccuracies, according to the Pew Center on the States' Election Initiatives.

The examination of the nation's voter rolls, commissioned by Pew and undertaken by RTI International, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute, also finds that:

  • At least 51 million eligible citizens remain unregistered -- more than 24 percent of the eligible population.
  • Nearly 2 million deceased individuals are listed as active voters.
  • Approximately 2.75 million people have active registrations in more than one state.
  • About 12 million records have incorrect addresses, meaning either the voters moved, or errors in the information make it unlikely any mailings can reach them.

Over the past two years, election officials from several states have been working to upgrade their voter registration systems using advanced technology to achieve greater accuracy of the rolls, increased savings and improved processes.  This new approach consists of three elements:

  • Comparing registration lists with other data sources, such as motor vehicle and National Change of Address records, to broaden the base of information used to update and verify voter rolls.
  • Implementing proven techniques and security protocols that use those data sources to better track and identify both inaccurate records that could be removed and eligible citizens who could be registered.
  • Minimizing manual data entry by establishing ways voters can submit information online, which will result in lower costs and fewer errors.

Source: "Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient: Evidence That America's Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade," Pew Center on the States, February 14, 2012.

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