Michigan's efforts to check accuracy of their Qualified Voter File

Michigan has been taking steps to verify the information contained within their Qualified Voter File (QVF), a statewide voter registry that receieved much attention in the wake of the 2000 presidential election when folks were looking for examples of statewide voter files. There is a brief story out about what Michigan is doing, and according to this story “approximately 169,000 obsolete voter records have been marked for deletion. Records are also being checked against the U.S. Social Security Administration’s Death Index for removal.”

Here is the process that Michigan is using to check the accuracy of the QVF:

Since last July, using funds from the national Help America Vote Act, the Department of State has reimbursed local clerks more than $220,000 for the costs of mailing new voter ID cards to registered voters-the main method for verifying those records in the QVF which are up-to-date.

If a voter ID card is returned as “undeliverable,” the clerk sends a confirmation notice to the voter’s last address on file. The notice informs the voter that his or her registration will be canceled if he or she fails to respond to the notice or vote over the course of the next two federal election cycles.

As a result of the mailings, the Bureau of Elections, working with local officials, has tagged nearly 169,000 obsolete records for possible removal. Under federal law, two national election cycles must pass before an obsolete record may be removed from the state’s database.

County clerks forward a list of deceased adults to the clerk of each city or township within the county so the voter registrations may be cancelled. Recognizing that this is a burdensome task for election officials, Land instructed the Bureau of Elections to use data from other sources, such as the Social Security Administration’s Death Index, in order to identify records of deceased voters in Michigan’s QVF. Approximately 50,000 obsolete records were removed based on this data. To ensure accuracy, mailings based on the information will be sent to the address listed in the file for individuals in the QVF with voting history. The mailing informs the reader that the voter registration of the named deceased individual has been canceled and provides contact information if it is inaccurate. Roughly 13,000 notifications will be sent through this process.

It’ll be interesting to see what other states do to check their lists, as other states get further down the path towards implementation of their statewide voter registries.