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Cross-State Voter Checks Come to Pennsylvania

With election season in the rearview, Pennsylvania is shifting its focus to 2015 and beyond — a time when more accurate voter rolls should become a reality.

The Pennsylvania Department of State announced in November that the commonwealth will be participating in the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which compares voter records among states to identify possible duplicates.

“There are now 28 states that are a part of this program,” said Ron Ruman, press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of State. “Pennsylvania joined in 2014 with the sole goal of having our voter rolls as accurate and up-to-date as possible.”

Duplicates on voter rolls occur frequently. When a person moves from one state to another, they often register to vote in the new state but never remove themselves from the rolls in their old state.

Ruman says within Pennsylvania, there is a system in place that “works exactly like the Interstate Crosscheck works.”

“If you move from Allegheny County to West Moreland County in Pennsylvania and you register to vote in West Moreland County, that information is sent from West Moreland County to Pennsylvania,” Ruman explains. From there, Allegheny County is notified “and you are removed from the rolls in Allegheny County.”

The Interstate Crosscheck Program aims to work in the same way except on a larger scale.

The program follows the guidelines of the federal Voter Registration Act, so voters who are suspected of having dual registration will remain on the rolls for two federal election cycles, after which they will be removed if they have not voted in the state or have not contacted the county office to verify residency.

The Department of State has reported it has a list of 43,000 potential duplicate voters. This list has been sent to county election offices throughout Pennsylvania, and those offices have been asked to contact those voters in question.

Secretary of the Commonwealth Carol Aichele stressed the importance of Pennsylvania’s involvement in the Interstate Crosscheck Program.

“Having as accurate and up-to-date voter lists as possible will help instill confidence in our elections,” Aichele said.

Accurate roles will lead to better run elections, Ruman added.

“By making our voter rolls more accurate and more up-to-date it does help to allow our county offices to be more efficient and to run our elections in a more efficient manner,” he said.

Counties have the best opportunity to begin this program in an odd year where voter turnout is typically low.

The Interstate Crosscheck Program is run out of Kansas, where the program began.