Millions of voters registered in multiple states - including ABC7 reporter

Double Voting (ABC7)

In less than a year, America will go to the polls and vote for a new president. But millions of voters, whether they know it or not, will have an opportunity to vote multiple times.

Voting twice is illegal. But earlier this month during the midterm election, 7 ON YOUR SIDE's Chris Papst learned how easy it is to do.

Like many Americans, every November, Papst votes. He takes it seriously. But last year, after moving to Virginia, he learned our voting system has some serious flaws.

On November 3, Papst voted where he currently lived in Arlington. Two hours later, he arrived at his old polling place in PA, where he hasn't lived in a year. He gave the election clerk his name, she pulled it up and he easily could have voted twice.

Linda Linberg is the Director of Elections in Arlington, who says voters being registered in multiple states is one of the biggest problems she sees. When Papst registered at her office, he signed a document stating he was previously registered in another state. That form was put in an envelope, licked, stamped and mailed to Pennsylvania.

"It's a bit antiquated, this system in a modern world," admitted Linberg.

This process, Linberg says, cannot keep pace with our increasingly mobile lives. In her election office, like many others, paper is still king.

"A lot can go wrong," she added.

"That's a big problem in the integrity of our voter rolls." Kris Kobach is the Kansas, Secretary of State. "There's a huge amount of inaccuracy."

Kobach operates the Interstate Cross Check - a collection of 28 states that share voter rolls. In 2014, the crosscheck found 7.3 million voters were registered in multiple states - 339,120 in Virginia - 44,000 just in both Maryland and Virginia (Virginia Voters Alliance, 2014). But since 22 states don't participate, including California, Texas and Florida, those numbers are likely much higher.

Kobach says this innaccuracy increases the possibility of voter fraud. In his state in 2014, more than 100 people - a record - appeared to vote twice.

"When you look at the larger group of 28 states, you can do the math, we're talking about thousands of double votes," added Kobach.

"No. It just doesn't happen," replied Allegra Chapman with Common Cause.

Voting twice is illegal. With heavy fines and possible jail time, Chapman downplays its impact. But she does agree with Kobach, the system needs to be modernized.

"Everything we do now is tech based," stated Chapman. "It just makes sense we should modernize our election system to come into the 21st century."

Twenty-six states, plus DC, have online voter registration. But there is no national database to check if people are registered in multiple states.

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