An “extraordinarily high” use of Social Security identification for new-voter verifications is being examined in North Carolina and five more states. The question is whether Social Security numbers are being improperly run for verification instead of the more “acceptable” state-issued identification procedure, as reported in The News & Observer of Raleigh today.
The request came from Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue in a letter mailed last Friday to the secretaries of state in Alabama, Georgia and the so-called “battleground states” of Indiana, Nevada, Ohio and North Carolina.
Gary Bartlett, director of the N.C. Board of Elections, told the N&O that the question concerns the 400,000 Social Security validations for the year, while noting that new registrations in the state at this point total some 700,000. Bartlett cited North Carolina’s large military and college communities as one explanation for the numbers, explaining that registrants there may have out-of-state driver’s licenses instead of N.C. identification.
“Rest assured, we think this is just absolutely off-base,” Bartlett was quoted as saying of the investigation. Georgia, with 2 million requests since last October, had more SSN verifications than any other state. Alabama was second with 1 milion. States with comparable or larger populations have had significantly lower numbers of Social Security requests, according to Astrue’s letter.
The deadline in North Carolina for new-voter registration before the Nov. 4 general election is Oct. 10. Registration will still be available, however, at One Stop Early Voting (Oct. 16 through Nov. 1). For more details, see Xpress’ Campaign Calendar for Oct. 8.
— Nelda Holder, associate editor