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Cracks In The Election System Raise Concerns About Double Voting

BOSTON (CBS) -- Not every vote is as it seems.

When WBZ's I-Team tried to ask 70-year-old Grace Fleming and her 71-year-old husband John why election records show them voting twice, they shut the door and refused to answer.

They live in Belchertown, where the clerk's records show they registered for the first time in Massachusetts as Republicans in August of 2016, when they got their driver's licenses. Records show they both cast ballots at Belchertown High School three months later on the day of the presidential election.

Grace Fleming
Grace Fleming (WBZ-TV)

The problem is, they had already voted in that election. The I-Team also obtained voter rolls from New Hampshire showing the Flemings mailed absentee ballots in the granite state, where they have a second address in Hampton.

They were among three indicted in New Hampshire for allegedly double dipping in the race that got President Donald Trump elected.

Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin says officials are trying to prevent a repeat. "We take great precaution," he said, showing letters his office has received in the last week from other states flagging former Massachusetts voters now registered in places like California, Tennessee, Vermont, to name a few.

Fleming vote
Voting record from NH shows Flemings voted by absentee ballot in 2016 (WBZ-TV)

He says not every city and town in the country picks up on such changes, and they don't always send notifications. "Most of them try to help us, and we try to help them, but there are other states that are not as centralized or limited staff, volunteers in some cases. It's not as reliable," said Galvin.

This year, Bay State lawmakers passed legislation to join a national database of registered voters to prevent double voting. It's called the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC. But that won't happen until next year.

"The ability for a citizen to cast their vote is precious. It's sacred," said security expert Anthony Amore, who's also on the ballot for Secretary of State. He's concerned about voters potentially double dipping before the new fix is in place. "Nothing has been done in Massachusetts for our midterm elections."

Two years ago, President Trump claimed Massachusetts residents were bussed into New Hampshire to vote, an allegation widely debunked by subsequent investigations. "But you don't need busloads for your election to be corrupted," said Amore. "I think the only number of fraud votes should be zero."

If convicted, the Flemings could face a maximum possible seven years behind bars.

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