Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Columbian: State voter database needs more work

As published in The Columbian newspaper 5/24/06

Sometimes I think the citizenry is too anxious to be assured that their elected officials are making things better.

The Columbian recently published an editorial that, once again, praised Secretary of State Sam Reed for his work to reform Washington state elections. Back in February, Reed released to the public the new and much anticipated statewide voter database. The Columbian followed up the release of the database by saying, "Bring it on."

But the problems with the database were all too apparent. The Evergreen Freedom Foundation and other organizations and concerned citizens pointed out serious flaws with the new system.

Even Reed acknowledged some of the problems, but said he would fix it. He has since made the effort to remove 55,000 dead and duplicate voters from the database. While this is a step forward, it overlooks the fact that there are still federal felons, double registrants, and noncitizens registered in many Washington counties, with no plan to actively check for them.

The Columbian's most recent editorial commending Reed for his work to cleanse the rolls is jumping the gun. The editorial board states, "Washington state elections have become more efficient and reliable since the hotly contested 2004 gubernatorial race, when Chris Gregoire won the governor's race by just 129 votes after three counts, and after 2.9 million votes had been cast."

Really? How do we know? The state has yet to endure a single general election since the introduction of the statewide voter database.

Continue reading State voter database needs more work