More than 350 U.S. counties have more registered voters than people eligible to vote, resulting in 1.8 million "extra" voters, according to a new Judicial Watch study.
By comparing publicly available voter registration data with the most recent Census Bureau population numbers, Judicial Watch found that statewide voter registration in eight states—Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont—exceeds 100 percent of eligible voters. Loving County, Texas, had the highest number of excess voters, with a registration rate of 187 percent.
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Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said the report highlights a problem specific to mail-in voting: Many election officials automatically send ballots or ballot applications to everyone on the list of registered voters without first removing the "ghost" voters.
"The new study shows 1.8 million excess or ‘ghost' voters in 353 counties across 29 states," Fitton said in a statement. "The data highlights the recklessness of mailing blindly ballots and ballot applications to voter registration lists. Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections."
A record number of voters have opted to vote by mail this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Election offices will automatically send ballots to 43 million registered voters, according to a recent CNN survey. By the end of September, the number of mail-in ballots distributed for November's general election already surpassed those cast ahead of Election Day in 2016.
Judicial Watch, a conservative organization that investigates government misconduct, has used its findings to pressure state governments to comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and remove ineligible voters from their voter rolls. The group sued Colorado earlier this month after finding that voter registration exceeded the number of eligible voters in 42 of the state's 64 counties.