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Alleged voting from improper addresses

Published: November 10, 2007

There are a handful of known cases in which votes have been cast from improper addresses.

It is far more common, however, to see claimed epidemics of voting from allegedly flawed addresses that later turn out to be legitimate. These claims are often based on postcards that are returned undelivered or undeliverable – but the postcards are an unreliable indicator. Typos during the registration process may cause mail to be misdirected. Or individuals may receive mail at an address different from the legal residence they list as their registration address.

Other unsupported claims are based on attempts to screen registration addresses against lists of vacant lots, or against zoning regulations to find locations dedicated to non-residential use. Here, too, typos may cause legitimate addresses to be flagged as suspicious. Sometimes the underlying lists are flawed: supposedly vacant lots actually have houses. Sometimes the voter’s actual legal residence is non-traditional: for example, a manager lives on-site at a storage facility.

Finally, a variant of the above claims concern allegations that large numbers of votes are all tied to one address. Yet there is nothing inherently suspect about multiple votes from one address if multiple eligible voters live there, whether the address is a college dormitory or nursing home or any other group housing arrangement.

The following resources document and analyze allegations of voting from improper addresses.