EDITORIAL: Bring out your dead

Virginia’s Democrats want to preserve ineligible-voter rights

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results

Democrats in Virginia are stopping just short of opening polling places in the graveyards to make sure every ineligible voter is counted. The state Democratic Party last week asked a federal judge in Alexandria for an injunction to block state and local election officials from deleting the names of ineligible voters. When the roll is called up yonder, in the updated hymn, the dead Democrats will still be here.

Election officials have compiled a list of 57,000 names of Virginians thought to have moved and put down roots elsewhere in the country. Election officials want to cross-check the names of nonresidents against the voter-registration lists and cross off the names of everyone who shouldn’t be voting in Virginia.

Terry McAuliffe is obviously polling well among the dearly departed because his party tells the court that “the need for relief is urgent.” The lawsuit argues that “the [State Board of Elections] is rushing to complete the purging in time to have the desired effect on the upcoming election.” The appropriate “desired effect” is to make sure that those who no longer live here don’t vote here. Every vote cast illegally cancels a legal vote.

The 13-page lawsuit warns on several pages that “the harm to the [Democratic Party of Virginia] and its members,” if the purge is allowed to continue, would be “irreparable.” This suggests that Democrats can’t win without the help of the temporarily dead.

When voter rolls aren’t cleaned up on a regular basis, the result is a voter-registration list that swells beyond the total number of residents. The Huffington Post reported in April 2011 that this happened in 14 out of the 102 counties in Illinois. Just last month, a federal court ordered Walthall County, Miss., to purge its voter rolls, which list 124 percent of the county’s voting-age population.

A federal law enacted 20 years ago states that elections officials have a duty to maintain “accurate and current” voter-registration rolls. Half of the states take this responsibility seriously by sharing voter rolls to identify duplicates. A prospective voter’s name, date of birth and the last four digits of his Social Security number are carefully checked twice to make sure a legitimate name is not deleted. It’s in the nature of records that there will be errors, but a system of provisional balloting is already in place to allow anyone mistakenly purged to cast a vote on Election Day. Nobody would be denied the vote.

What Democrats obviously fear is that the double-checking of voter rolls can expose voter fraud of the sort that torpedoed the candidacy of Wendy Rosen, a Maryland Democrat who last year challenged Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican. She dropped out after admitting that in several elections she voted in both Florida and Maryland.

Virginia officials counted 7,934 duplicate names on the Fairfax County voter rolls, and the Democratic lawsuit asks that every one of those be allowed to cast a ballot on Nov. 5. Ghosts have rights, too, we suppose, but participating in elections with voters not yet dead is not one of them. We suggest that Mr. McAuliffe court another constituency. A live one might be more useful.

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • Maureen McDonnell looks on as her husband, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, made a statement on Tuesday after the couple was indicted on corruption charges. (associated press)

    PRUDEN: Where have the big-time grifters gone?

  • This photo taken Jan. 9, 2014,  shows New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie gesturing as he answers a question during a news conference  at the Statehouse in Trenton.  Christie will propose extending the public school calendar and lengthening the school day in a speech he hopes will help him rebound from an apparent political payback scheme orchestrated by key aides. The early front-runner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination will make a case Tuesday Jan. 14, 2014, that children who spend more time in school graduate better prepared academically, according to excerpts of his State of the State address obtained by The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

    BRUCE: Bombastic arrogance or humble determination? Chris Christie’s choice

  • ** FILE ** Secretary of State Hillary Rodham testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the deadly September attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador J. Chris Stevens and three other Americans. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

    PRUDEN: The question to haunt the West

  • Get Breaking Alerts