Report Says Some Texas Registered Voters May Have Been Ineligible

This story was written by Katy Justice, Daily Texan
Kenneth McDuff was convicted of more than a dozen murders in Texas and was executed on death row in November 1998. He could have also easily been a registered voter in the May 2007 elections.

According to a report released Tuesday by the Texas Secretary of State's office, 49,049 registered voters in Texas may have been ineligible in the May special election. The number included about 23,000 felons, another 23,000 possibly deceased and more than 2,000 duplicate records, according to the report.

The office should improve its voter registration oversight and process to ensure that records in the Texas Election Administration Management system, also known as TEAM, are accurate, according to the audit's conclusions.

This was the first time an audit was done for voter ineligibility in a Texas election, Texas State Auditor John Keel said.

"Our office agrees with many of the recommendations made by the state auditor and many issues have been resolved or are in the process," Scott Haywood, a spokesman for the secretary of state, said in a statement. "It has been no secret that TEAM had not performed at the level this agency and the county officials required, especially in the May election."

The possible ineligible voters were 0.4 percent of the current 12,374,114 registered voters in Texas, according to the report.

Keel said the percentage of ineligible voters discovered in the audit was very small and that the secretary of state is being cooperative to help decrease these numbers in future elections.

According to the report, the office does not have a process to ensure that user accounts are authorized by appropriate personnel or that existing accounts are reviewed for validity.

The audit report suggested the office also needs to implement additional controls to ensure that it adequately protects voter registration information.

"Our office will continue to work on ways to ensure only eligible Texans are on the voter rolls," Haywood said in a statement. "We will continue to work with county officials to help ensure that all flagged ineligible voters are investigated and removed if appropriate."

Haywood also said the office will ensure that no eligible voters are removed unfairly.

Auditors did not identify any instances where potentially ineligible voters actually voted in the May election, according to the report.
© 2007 Daily Texan via U-WIRE