- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2002

At least 61,000 people were added to the D.C. voter rolls between August and October, raising the total number of registered D.C. voters to 363,211. This is an incredible development. Or is it an illusion?

In September, the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics reported that there were only 301,593 registered voters. If the new numbers are to be believed, that means that between Aug. 10, the last date to qualify to vote in the Sept. 10 primaries, and Oct. 5, the cutoff for the Nov. 5 general election, the board duly qualified 61,618 voters.

The board knows there are many voters who live elsewhere and vote in the District and vice versa. It is an unlawful activity that has dogged Maryland and Virginia rolls, too. Failure to keep the D.C. rolls clean might, perhaps, explain why there have been such dramatic spikes in registration in recent elections. For example, in 1998 there were about 361,000 registered D.C. voters, then the number dropped to 354,000 in 2000, which seems fairly normal. This election season again from 301,593 to 363,211, a 61,000 difference seems unreal.

The board owes an explanation. After all, election officials should be keenly aware of the volume of schemes to falsify driver's licenses, Social Security cards, passports and visas that have been uncovered, particularly since September 11. Also, the petition scandal leading up to the D.C. primary should make the election board all the more conscientious regarding voter rolls and other election processes. More important, though, is the fact that voting is a privilege granted exclusively to U.S. citizens. The question for the board: Are the new numbers fact or fiction?

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