If ever there were an election that proved the importance of accurate voter rolls, it was Virginia’s on Nov. 7.With control of the General Assembly hanging in the balance, at least three Democratic candidates demanded recounts of their Republican opponents’ razor-thin victory margins.
One candidate led by 106 votes, another by 86, and a third led by only 10. Another five races were decided by fewer than 900 votes. The Democrats need to flip only two more seats to take control of the lower chamber. Every vote counts, and every name listed on a voter registration roll can be voted, legitimately or illegitimately.
People who oppose efforts to clean up voter rolls or to check voter IDs say that it could discourage some people from voting. But in the rare instance in which someone is removed from the rolls who is eligible to vote, that person can still vote.
He or she can fill out a provisional ballot and furnish proof of residency later. So there is no justification for inaccurate voter rolls. In 2013, Democrat Mark Herring defeated Republican state Sen. Mark Obenshain for attorney general by only 165 votes out of more than 2.2 million votes cast.
Nobody knows how many fraudulent votes are cast in any election, but we do know that literally thousands of ineligible voters are on Virginia’s voter rolls, including illegal immigrants and convicted felons.
In 2016, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) investigated registrations in six Virginia counties and two cities and published the findings in a report, “Alien Invasion in Virginia.” PILF found more than 1,040 noncitizens on the voter rolls and that 200 of them voted.
If you extrapolate this to the state’s other 127 counties, it suggests that the Old Dominion’s voter rolls are bloated with thousands of ineligible voters. In May 2017, PILF issued a sequel, “Alien Invasion II,” which found:
- Virginia election officials quietly removed 5,556 voters for non-citizenship between 2011 and May 2017;
- 1,852 of those removed as noncitizens cast ballots;
- A total of 7,474 illegal ballots were cast from the pool of removed noncitizens;
- Some records of illegal voting date back to the 1980s, way before their respective removals;