Keep Voter Registration Clean

Get-out-the-vote drives by both Democrats and Republicans have resulted in record voter registration numbers this year. Michigan's registrar, for instance, expects some 96 percent of the state's eligible voters to be registered in time to vote on Nov. 2.

In such a hotly contested presidential contest, accusations of all sorts are flying back and forth between the campaigns as they go about signing up new voters. Some of them are particularly troubling.

For months, Republicans have claimed Democratic-leaning special-interest groups have been handing in fraudulent or duplicate registrations.

In Florida, multiple lawsuits have been filed by Democrats charging election supervisors with voter disenfranchisement. Labor unions and voting-rights groups have sued to stop some 10,000 incomplete registration forms from being disqualified.

Democrats also are complaining about reports in Nevada and Oregon that detail charges by former employees of an Arizona firm hired by the Republican National Committee to register voters in those states. The ex-employees allege the company actually threw out Democratic voter registration forms. Last week, the Oregon state attorney general began a criminal investigation into the claim.

Political parties often pay outside firms to register voters, and those firms often don't identify themselves as working for a political party. Clearly, they should state their party affiliation. Without greater transparency in the registration process, American faith in the political system is likely to erode further.

And though it seems obvious, everyone from the election day volunteer up to the secretaries of state must not let their politics interfere with obtaining the most accurate vote possible. Otherwise, the courts will probably make that decision for them.

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