Who Really Won?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Getting The Same All the Time

Four million to five million voters did not cast a ballot in the 2008 presidential election because they encountered registration problems or failed to receive absentee ballots, which is roughly the same number of voters who encountered such problems in the 2000 election, according to an academic study to be presented to the Senate Rules Committee on Wednesday.

An additional two million to four million registered voters — or 1 percent to 2 percent of the eligible electorate — were “discouraged” from voting due to administrative hassles, like long lines and voter identification requirements, the study found.

The study found that the most common registration problems involved clerical errors, like entering voter information incorrectly in statewide databases, or voters who changed their address but failed to inform election officials. At least 4 percent of eligible voters surveyed said they requested absentee ballots but failed to receive them.

“It’s clear that the high turnout on Nov. 4 of last year simply masked persistent problems that still need to be fixed,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and the Rules Committee chairman. “Had the election been close, these problems would have received a lot more attention because they could have made the difference in which candidate won.”