A St. Louis woman says a mailer she received from the Washington DC-based Voter Participation Center is a potential voter fraud issue. The mailer has been sent to thousands of Missourians, which says they are not registered to vote. It also gives the wrong voter registration deadline. Some of the mailers are going to deceased individuals, ineligible voters and even pets. Linda Hamberg received one at her address that was for her husband’s aunt.
“In opening it up, it was very concerning because Aunt Myrtle never lived in the state of Missouri,” says Hamberg. “Myrtle Vrabel lived in Nashville, North Carolina her whole life. She died eight years ago.”
Hamberg’s husband was the trustee for Vrabel’s trust.
The return envelope is addressed to the St. Louis City Board of Elections. The voter registration application enclosed asks for a driver’s license number, last four digits of a person’s social security number, date of birth and other information. The return address shows an address in Springfield, MO for the Voter Participation Center.
Hamberg wants Secretary of State Jason Kander’s office to do a quality control check and warn the public about the mailer. She called Kander’s office and says she doesn’t feel that the office is taking the issue seriously enough.
“How do they check if the person is dead, especially if that person died in another state or previously resided in another state? How do they check on people who have legal residences in two states, maybe Missouri and Florida? What would be the process to prevent a person from voting twice? How do they cross check social security numbers of individuals with green cards, or non-citizens who may be working with a temporary social security number, or if a person has lost his or her right to vote because of a felony conviction,” asks Hamberg.
Hamberg wants legislation proposed to address the issue.
“There has to be something in place. There’s nothing wrong with sending out voter registration information, but I want everyone in Missouri and across the nation to vote,” says Hamberg. “I don’t want people who are dead on the rolls. I don’t want dogs on the rolls. I want to make sure that there are good systems in place to make sure that voter fraud doesn’t exist.”
Hamberg thinks the matter should be considered a non-partisan issue.
“I don’t want any election stolen from any candidate,” says Hamberg.
Secretary of State Spokesperson Stephanie Fleming says her office has completed an Elections Integrity Unit review into the issue. It can be viewed here: https://www.sos.mo.gov/CMSImages/ElectionIntegrity/VPCReview9-28-16.pdf.
Fleming also says there are laws and processes in place to ensure Missouri’s voter rolls are kept up to date and accurate. The statewide voter registration database interfaces with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services as well as the Social Security Administration for deceased voters. The system also interfaces with the Missouri Department of Corrections for felons and another interstate agreement that interfaces for voter registration duplicates. Reports are sent directly to local election authorities, who maintain the voter registration lists for their individual jurisdictions. All of these reports aid local election authorities’ with keeping their voter registration lists up to date.
Fleming says the office has received calls and is looking into the matter. From everything the office has seen and heard about the mailings so far, she says there is no law prohibiting this activity.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation to see if anything changes. VPC contacted our office and took full responsibility for the notices with an incorrect voter registration deadline. They have assured us they will mail a new notice with the correct deadline, which is October 12,” says Fleming.
Fleming says her office is communicating with local election authorities about the matter so eligible voters have the correct information and are still given the chance to vote.
Fleming says the list the Voter Participation Center (VPC) used did not come from her office. She says VPC developed their own list using a variety of sources. It used the statewide voter database to remove individuals from its list who were already registered—not to decide who to send to.
The Voter Participation Center has posted a press release on its website, which says it is immediately mailing postcards to 95,000 Missourians with the correct October 12 registration deadline. The previous mailer incorrectly said it was October 17.
Attempts to reach the organization have not been returned.
See a previous Missourinet story here.