Alleged double-voting

November 10, 2007

There are a handful of known cases in which pollbook entries and absentee or provisional ballots stubs indicate that one individual has actually voted twice. These cases are extremely rare, in part because the penalty (criminal prosecution) is so severe, and the payoff (one incremental vote) is so minimal.

It is far more common, however, to see allegations of epidemic double-voting that are unfounded. Such claims are usually premised on matching lists of voters from one place to another, but upon closer inspection, the match process shows error. Sometimes the interpretation is flawed: two list entries under the same name -- even the same name and birthdate -- indicate different individuals. Sometimes the lists themselves are flawed: because of the occasional clerical error by overworked and undertrained election workers, an individual is marked as voting when she did not in fact cast a ballot. Sometimes it's both.

  • In New Hampshire in 2004, citizens were alleged to have voted twice, but on further investigation, no double-voters were found.
  • In New Jersey in 2004, 4397 voters were alleged to have voted twice within the state, and 6572 voters were alleged to have voted once in New Jersey and once elsewhere; eight cases were actually documented, for an overall fraud rate of 0.0002%.
  • In New York in 2004 and 2002, between 400 and 1000 voters were alleged to have voted once in New York and once in Florida; two cases were actually proven, for an overall fraud rate of 0.000009%.

The following resources document and analyze allegations of double-voting.

More coming soon.