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To the dogs

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Early this summer, a Bedford County man received a document seeking to register a new voter from his family. Unfortunately the document was sent to his dog Mozart.
    And Mozart had been dead for two years.
    When the form first came Tim Morris said he laughed at first, thinking the solicitation was a joke. Then he realized it was real.
    And that’s a problem.
    The voter registration forms were sent by the non-profit group Voter Participation Center. This week the State Board of Elections said the issue—in addition to Mozart, forms were sent to children, other pets and people who were deceased— wouldn’t be further investigated.
    At the very least the issue shows there must be a purposeful verification system in place to make sure those voting are actually qualified to do so. It’s mind-boggling that some disagree with this notion.
    The State Board of Elections (SBE) held its meeting on Monday to discuss the issues surrounding the VPC mailings that took place in June and a request received for further investigation. No action was taken on that request, essentially ending the issue.
    However, a representative from the VPC addressed the Board regarding the organization’s most recent efforts to refine outreach efforts and correct data for mailing lists, specifically, 13 protocols which will be implemented to ensure increased accuracy of mailings.  The problem is, this isn’t the first time this has happened. VPC must do better.
    While SBE indicated that pre-populated forms should not have been used and inaccurate data may have confused thousands of voters, the Board declined to request the local general registrars remove registered voters who were added to the rolls with pre-populated forms.  The SBE voiced its confidence in local election officials to identify ineligible voters and indicated the agency will continue to work with the 134 General Registrars statewide to review all applications and registrations with state and federal databases to ensure the eligibility of voters and purity of the statewide voter registration list.
    And it should.
    The Romney campaign, which had made the request for investigation, stated that “even in the absence of a formal investigation, we are heartened that the group is being forced to stop mailing misleading, [partially completed] voter registration forms in Virginia.”
    As should all citizens.
    No group should be reckless in its attempt to register voters. And only legal, registered voters should be allowed to cast ballots.
    It seems like a reasonable assumption. The problem is, some groups ignore that concept—and some just don’t care. What’s even worse, some do it on purpose.