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Voter Verification and Database Matching

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Publication Date: August 2008

Publisher(s): Brennan Center for Justice

Topic: Politics (Elections and voting)

Keywords: Democracy; Voter Registration; Voter Verification

Type: Brief


Ill-conceived state policies concerning HAVA’s statewide voter registration databases could keep hundreds of thousands of eligible voters off of the rolls, through no fault of their own. Database matching is unreliable. Inadequate matching standards are also responsible for improper purges. States can ensure that voter registration lists are as complete and accurate as possible while still safeguarding voters’ rights. Some states have adopted flexible matching standards for new registrants. Some states also have protective procedures in the event no match can be found. Flexible standards are good for new registrants --but not for purges of existing voters. Protecting legitimate voters also requires common-sense technological safeguards.