U.S. Reps. Todd Rokita (IN-04) and Candice Miller (MI-10) today introduced the Voter Registration Integrity Act to direct states to implement a voter registration check and verification when individuals move. Currently, when individuals move out of state and register their new address with the state motor vehicle department, they are also asked if they would like to register to vote. The Voter Registration Integrity Act would require state motor vehicle departments to determine whether individuals want their new location to serve as their residence for voting in federal elections, and if so, to notify their former state of residence so they can be removed from the old voter registration rolls.
"Voting is a right, but with that right, each voter has the responsibility to be legally registered and to follow all relevant laws in casting a ballot. Voter fraud is a proven danger that dilutes honest votes and erodes public confidence in our electoral process -- indeed, it threatens the very foundation of our republic," said Representative Todd Rokita. "Preventing ineligible voters from casting ballots depends in large part on having accurate, clean records of eligible voters. As a former Indiana Secretary of State, I can attest that the Voter Registration Integrity Act will be a valuable tool to help state election administrators ensure the integrity of their voter rolls.
"This bill, along with other legislation such as the landmark voter ID law that we passed in Indiana and successfully defended before the Supreme Court, will protect the right of every American to cast a ballot that counts. I can think of nothing more worthy of protection," said Rokita.
As Indiana's chief election official from 2003 to 2011, Rokita was involved in the introduction, implementation, and defense of Indiana's landmark voter ID law -- which was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2008 -- as well as a much-needed clean-up of the state's out-of-date voter registration database.
"The foundation of the American democratic system is the fundamental right to vote and the principle of one man, one vote," said Representative Candice Miller. "When that principle is violated, the voting rights of all are diminished. I had the honor to serve as Michigan Secretary of State and the state's Chief Elections Officer for eight years. In that role I was responsible for conducting open, free and fair elections and that was a responsibility I took very seriously. It is also why I found it appalling when it was reported that a congressional candidate in the state of Maryland, Wendy Rosen, had registered to vote in both Maryland and Florida and voted in the 2006 and 2008 general elections and the 2008 Presidential Primary in both states. This type of behavior cannot be tolerated and we must make every effort to prevent it from happening in the future."
"In recent months I have been working with Michigan's current Secretary of State Ruth Johnson and my House colleague Todd Rokita, a former Secretary of State in Indiana, to look at changes in federal law that would put in place safeguards to make it less likely that any individual would cast ballots in multiple states in the same election," Miller continued. "To address this problem, I introduced the Voter Registration Integrity Act along with Rep. Rokita which would amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to provide state officials with additional tools to keep voter rolls clean. This bill would require state motor vehicle departments to ask new residents of their state who are seeking a driver license if he or she intends to register to vote in the new state. If the answer is yes, then the state motor vehicle department would notify the former state and allow the removal of that voter from their voter rolls."
"This is just common sense -- if you have voters registered in more than one state you are opening the door to cheating," said Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson. "Accurate voter rolls are critical to integrity in the elections process. That's why I've been pushing so hard to be able to remove those who have moved out of state, died or who are not U.S. citizens."
Johnson said Michigan this year participated in a joint project with 15 other states to compare and cross-check voter registration records to identify people registered to vote in more than one state and called initial numbers "troubling." It appears, though data is still being examined and verified, that about 72,000 Michigan residents are also registered to vote in other states like Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Illinois and Tennessee, Johnson said.
"Voter fraud hurts every legitimate citizen who lawfully exercises their sacred franchise. This bill is an important step in the right direction and it is my sincere hope we can enact it into law and protect the rights of every American," Miller concluded.