Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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April 5, 2013

Va investigating duplicate voter registrations

RICHMOND, Va. — A database review has found thousands of Virginia voters are registered in other states, prompting an investigation by the state attorney general’s office.

State Board of Elections spokeswoman Nikki Sheridan said the board requested the investigation this week after the check of a voter registration database turned up more than 308,000 duplicate registrations in Virginia. According to The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/16u3lrC ), more than 97,000 of those were listed as having voted in recent elections in Virginia.

Sheridan cautioned that such findings do not necessarily constitute voter fraud. The reason for the duplicate registrations could be explained by a person moving to a different state, attending college or serving in the military.

Caroline Gibson, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, said an investigation has started but she declined comment on potential cases.

Virginia joined 21 other states last year in a cross-check of voter rolls. Sheridan said the partnership is a way to maintain and update voting records.

Like other Republican-led states, Virginia has focused on voter and election laws in recent years. Supporters have said the steps are needed to protect the integrity of the voting process, although little evidence has been produced to point to widespread problems at the polls.

Most Democrats have opposed such laws. Critics say the measures burden the elderly, poor, minorities and students, and that they aim to suppress voter turnout in some communities.

Virginia passed a law last year requiring voters to present identification to cast a ballot, although the ID did not have to include a photograph. Last month, Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell signed legislation that will require Virginians to show a photo ID before casting a ballot.

The law must first be approved by the U.S. Justice Department and could be in effect in time for elections in 2014.

McDonnell also ordered the elections board to conduct voter outreach to educate residents on the changes and help those who lack photo identification to register.

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