Unintended Consequences? Deliberate Voter Suppression?

The Brennan Center and others are reporting that the Social Security Administration is shutting down its system for maintenance for three days, just when it is required for voter registration verification. <read>

A recent alert by the Social Security Administration announces that the agency plans to shut down its databases for maintenance from October 11 through October 13. While this might not sound like an election issue, it turns out that this could significantly impede registration of first-time voters as well as the re-registration of eligible citizens.

Here’s why. A 2002 federal law, the Help America Vote Act, requires all states to “coordinate” their voter registration databases with the Social Security database (and state motor vehicle databases) for the purpose of processing new voter registration forms. For the millions of voters who do not have current driver’s licenses and register using the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, state election officials are required to try to match their voter registration information against Social Security records. But if the Social Security database is down-as it will be for four days-they won’t be able to do that. Across the country, the processing of these voter registration forms will grind to a halt for four days.

It is a bit fishy! Do you recall the last time a major system was taken down for three days? Modern information technology uses a variety of techniques to avoid the need for a planned system outage, for more than a few minutes.

We are critical of Senator Feinstein for her dangerous election bill. In this case we complement her for jumping on this issue, read her letter: <read>


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