Current Affairs

New data finds 353 counties have 1.8 million more registered voters than residents


 Mark Tapscott


A total of 353 of the 3,141 counties in America located in 29 of the nation’s 50 states have 1.8 million more registered voters than residents, according to an analysis by Judicial Watch.

The non-profit government watchdog compared the registration data available for 37 states with the U.S. Census Bureau’s most recently available American Community Survey (ACS) numbers for the period 2014-2018 on a county-by-county basis.

“This new study shows 1.8 million excess, or ‘ghost’ voters, in 353 counties across 29 states,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement announcing the study, Oct.16.

“This data highlights the recklessness of mailing blindly ballots and ballot applications to voter registration lists. Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections,” Fitton said.

Eight states, including Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont, were found to have statewide registered voter totals exceeding 100 percent of residents, according to Judicial Watch.

The non-profit said its study “is necessarily limited to 37 states that post regular updates to their registration data. Certain state voter registration lists may also be even larger than reported, because they may have excluded ‘inactive voters’ from their data.

“Inactive voters, who may have moved elsewhere, are still registered voters and may show up and vote on election day and/or request mail-in ballots.”

In a similar study last year by Judicial Watch, 372 counties were found to have more registered voters than residents. The ACS data in that analysis covered the period 2013-2017.

States are required under a federal law approved in 1993 to make all reasonable efforts to maintain updated voter registration rolls, but enforcement of the statute was almost non-existent until recent years when Judicial Watch began suing individual states.

Earlier this month, for example, Judicial Watch sued Colorado seeking to force it to clean up its registration rolls. At least 42 of Colorado’s 60 counties have more registered voters than residents, according to the latest Judicial Watch analysis. Denver County’s registered voter total equals 103 percent of its population.

The non-profit sued Illinois in federal court in September seeking to obtain registration data the state has refused to make available, a violation of the 1993 law.

The Supreme Court in 2018 upheld a Judicial Watch settlement with Ohio in which that state agreed to a cleanup program of the registration rolls.