A search of the records in all five boroughs of New York City found 850 voters with the same birth date of Jan. 1, 1850.
New York City Board of Elections officials chalked up the implausible age snafu to previous practices that allowed residents not to provide their exact birthdays when registering to vote. Some of the new voters, mostly women, simply wrote that they were “21+”, above the legal voting age. There was a reason to be vague. Voter registration records are open to the public, so anyone with the inclination can discover the real age of anyone in the files.
It was a little quirk in the system that was fixed during the board's switch to computerized databases in 1999 and 2006. To comply with new state rules, election officials were required to write in a specific date of birth for all voters, or remove them from the rolls.
Officials twice sent out notices imploring the 164-year-olds to provide their real birth dates. Most ignored the requests.
Since they registered under the old system, the board grandfathered them in and listed 01/01/1850 as their DOBs in the electronic voting rolls.
Residents who registered after 2006 are required to provide their true birth dates. The board, under state law, must remove voters from the rolls who fail to do so. A voter without a date of birth who shows up on Election Day won’t be in the register, and can fill out an affidavit ballot. If they can not verify their date-of-birth, their vote won’t be counted.
During a meeting Tuesday, Board of Elections commissioners and Director, Ryan discussed ways to fix the age-old problem. They discussed sending out another letter pleading for the real dates of birth or even having staffers try to contact the 850 by telephone. To prevent fraud, officials would still need a written statement from voters certifying their age, even if they divulge it over the phone.
Ryan said the matter will be revisited after the Nov. 4 election.
NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote!
Michael H. Drucker
Technorati Tag in Del.icio.us