New study uncovers flaws in process for maintaining state voter rolls

image of voting poll booths
March 4, 2021

States regularly use administrative records, such as motor-vehicle data, in determining whether people have moved to prune their voter rolls. A Yale-led study of this process in Wisconsin shows that a significant percentage of registered voters are incorrectly identified as having changed addresses, potentially endangering their right to vote.  

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, found that at least 4% of people listed as suspected “movers” cast ballots in 2018 elections using addresses that were wrongly flagged as out of date. Minority voters were twice as likely as white voters to cast their ballot with their original address of registration after the state marked them as having moved, the study showed.

The findings suggest that states should more clearly communicate the processes they use to update voter-registration files and that a more robust effort is required to confirm whether individuals have moved before they are removed from the voter rolls, said Yale political scientist and CSAP Associate Director Gregory A. Huber, the study’s lead author.

Read the full article by Mike Cummings at YaleNews (February 25, 2021)