Registrars: No voter fraud here

Published 1:46 pm Wednesday, February 1, 2017

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

As President Donald Trump moves to investigate alleged voter fraud, the Isle of Wight County registrar said Virginia has a good system for updating its books.

Trump is upset because Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton earned nearly three million more popular votes than he did. Trump became president by winning the most votes in the Electoral College.

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The new president has alleged that more than 3 million persons illegally voted and that, had they not done so, he would have won the popular vote. He said last week he would launch a nationwide investigation into voter fraud. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The president specifically complained that there are people who are registered in two states and that many dead people remain registered.

Isle of Wight County Registrar Lisa Betterton said Virginia has a system to deal with deceased voters, as well as those who move to the Commonwealth.

The only crack in the system is if a voter moves to Virginia and doesn’t indicate on the voter application that he or she is registered in another state, Betterton said.

If they do indicate they are registered in another state, the registrar’s office sends a letter to that state to notify it of the change, Betterton said.

Unfortunately, the Isle of Wight office does not get many of those letters from other states to notify Isle of Wight to remove the person from its list, Betterton said.

In many cases, the family of a deceased person will notify the registrar’s office and indicate where an obituary can be found.

“As long as we have something written,” said Betterton, the deceased person’s name is removed.

In addition to family reporting and obituaries, the Board of Elections also fills an online “hopper” with voters who are reported as deceased by the National Technical Information Service, said Deputy Registrar Victoria Lonsdale.

“Virginia is pretty on it,” Betterton said.

The National Technical Information Service is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The registrar’s office also matches information with the Virginia Department of Vital Statistics, said Lonsdale.

Isle of Wight County Electoral Board Secretary William Bell Jr. said he has “all the confidence in the world” in the county’s poll books, which maintains the list of voters. He said mail that has an election material seal on it cannot be forwarded, and people are removed from the list who haven’t voted in four years.

There are cases of people showing up at the wrong poll, but they are just directed to the proper place, he said.

“I see no fraud here in Isle of Wight County,” he said.

Surry County Registrar Lucille Epps said she will not register someone to vote if they indicate they are registered elsewhere and do not want to give that up. If they are registered in another locality in Virginia, the state will automatically make the change, Epps said. Epps also checks obituaries.

“As far as I know, we haven’t had any fraud going on here in Surry County,” she said.

Being registered in two states is apparently not uncommon.

Trump’s own daughter, Tiffany, is said to be registered in New York and Pennsylvania, as are a few of his cabinet and administrative picks for office, according to news reports.

For more information on Virginia’s file maintenance system, visit  {/mprestriction}