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WASHINGTON (AFP) - Tens of thousands of voters in at least six battleground states have been removed from election rolls or have been illegally blocked from registering to vote, according to an investigation by the New York Times published Thursday.
The anomalies, which are violations of US federal law, are largely bureaucratic mistakes in record keeping, and "do not seem to be coordinated by one party or the other, nor do they appear to be the result of election officials intentionally breaking rules," said the newspaper
The six swing states seem to be in violation of federal law in two ways. Michigan and Colorado are removing voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election, which is not allowed except when voters die, notify the authorities that they have moved out of state, or have been declared unfit to vote.
Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio seem to be improperly using Social Security data to verify registration applications for new voters.
In addition to the six swing states, three more states appear to be violating federal law. Alabama and Georgia seem to be improperly using Social Security information to screen registration applications from new voters. And Louisiana appears to have removed thousands of voters after the federal deadline for taking such action.
Under federal law, election officials are supposed to use the Social Security database to check a registration application only as a last resort, if no record of the applicant is found on state databases, like those for driver’s licenses or identification cards.
The requirement exists because using the federal database is less reliable than the state lists, and is more likely to incorrectly flag applications as invalid. Many state officials seem to be using the Social Security lists first.