The Ghost Who Votes

My house has a ghost, a former resident that moved out in 2009 but still receives mail from unions, political campaigns and the government.  On a sneaking suspicion, I contacted my state representative about my ghost.  Voting records are not freely shared in Illinois, but sure enough, my ghost has been voting.  My state representative won by 34 votes in 2018, now by 35 votes.  Spurred on growing numbers of confirmed reports, he will present a bill to the Illinois General Assembly to clean up the voter rolls, but would such a cleanup be enough?

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Are 1%, 10% or 50% of registered voters actually stale registrations?  Most anyone telling you a number based on data analysis is certainly wrong, probably on the low end.  Every year about 10% of people move, and about 16% of those move to another state, so playing the averages, about 3.2% of last elections’ voters will have moved to another state and are likely still registered, and it accumulates.

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I usually door knock for the Republican Party, for the purpose of getting out the base.  My walk sheets contained people who voted in three or four of the last four Republican primaries.  On rare occasion, the voter I was to contact had moved out, but I never encountered stale voters because they didn’t vote Republican primaries and so had been filtered off the list.

This changed in 2014, when I knocked doors for Bruce Rauner.  His data analysis team incorporated other resources to identify Democratic and routine and infrequent non-partisan voters (general elections only) who might be sympathetic to his message.  The stale registrations were numerous, and so were the stale voters.  I visited one home that had three different family names listed on the walk sheet, all with recent voting records.  From the ages and sexes, it was clear that these were different middle-aged couples.  The current residents had lived there for a year and had not yet registered to vote, but one of their ghosts voted in the Democratic primary that Spring.  At one strong Republican house, which I had knocked many times before, their daughter appeared on the sheet as a strong and routine Democratic voter.  She moved out-of-state 10 years prior.

From the number of similar experiences at other houses, I estimated that 2.0% of the voters in my precincts were stale, with 7/8 of it going Democratic, meaning that Democrats received +1.5% from stale voters in my 75% Republican precincts.  Many races are won and lost by less.  If these statistics hold, that 0.33% of Republican votes and 7% of Democratic votes are from stale voters, then stale voters make up about 3.67% of the total vote in swing states, giving Democrats a 3.33% margin of fraud.  In most “blue” states, Democrats would gain a 4.5% margin of fraud from stale voters.

Source: American Thinker