Jessica Huseman for Pro Publica:
Vice President Mike Pence’s office has confirmed the White House commission on voter fraud intends to run the state voter rolls it has requested against federal databases to check for potential fraudulent registration. Experts say the plan is certain to produce thousands of false positives that could distort the understanding of the potential for fraud, especially given the limited data states have agreed to turn over.
“This just demonstrates remarkable naivety on how this voter data can be used,” said David Becker, the executive director of the Center for Election Innovation & Research. “There’s absolutely no way that incomplete data from some states — mainly consisting of names and addresses — can be used to determine anything.”…
Comparing names nationwide could result in far more false positives.
“How many Manuel Rodríguezes born in 1945 who are citizens are going to be on an immigration list? There are likely to be several,” said Charles Stewart, a professor at MIT and expert in election administration. “How will you know if he’s the immigrant, or he is one of the several people with that name who are citizens and legally registered?”
Kobach runs a matching program that appears to have its own high rate of errors. A recent study by political scientists at Stanford University found that Kobach’s Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program had 200 false positives for every actual double registration. The Kansas secretary of state’s office did not immediately return a call for comment on the program.
Other systems already exist that do rigorous matching. The Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC, is a voluntary, paid system operated by a nonprofit and used by 20 states and the District of Columbia. The system uses far more information than states are able to make publicly available, such as driver’s license numbers, Social Security numbers and even email addresses.