The N.C. State Board of Elections said last week that an interstate initiative found 765 voters who cast more than one ballot in the last election.
The voters, who went to the polls in North Carolina and another state, shared first and last names and the last four digits of their social security numbers. The initiative found thousands more that matched only in first and last names.
In August, the N.C. General Assembly passed a law that allows the Board of Elections to share voting data with other states to find duplicate voters. North Carolina and 27 other states shared voter data.
“Ensuring the accuracy of the voter rolls is a top priority as our agency makes careful use of available auditing tools,” said Josh Lawson, a North Carolina Board of Elections spokesman, in an email.
But some policy analysts in the state are skeptical of the initiative’s findings.
Mitch Kokai, spokesman for the right-leaning John Locke Foundation, said in an email that he doubts all 765 cases were legitimate fraud — but some likely were.
“We’re not talking about two or three instances — 765 is a significant number,” he said.
He said the new voter legislation, which requires voters to show photo identification at the polls, could help cut down on instances of fraud.
“With a voter ID requirement, anyone who wanted to commit this type of fraud would have to go out of her way to get forged identification to go along with the transplanted voter’s name and address,” Kokai said. “The fraud still could take place, but the voter ID would serve as a deterrent.”
Bob Hall , executive director of the left-leaning Democracy N.C., said many of the 765 counts of voter duplicates were likely the result of clerical error.
“Modernization of registration would help, but people should not jump to conclusions when they see a name match,” Hall said.
According to documents released by the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, a significant number of double votes were false positives.
Many instances of perceived voter fraud are human error, according to the same documents. Election clerks scan the wrong line with a barcode scanner, voters sign the wrong line in the poll book, or there is confusion over father and son voters.
“I think fraud needs to be stopped, but people shouldn’t get into a hysterical framework wanting to employ draconian measures that are inappropriate,” Hall said.