CLEVELAND – Thousands of people who are registered voters in Ohio and Florida possibly could vote twice in the presidential election through use of absentee ballots, The Plain Dealer reported Sunday.
An investigation of voter rolls in the two key battleground states found that some double voting has occurred previously and could go undetected Tuesday, the newspaper said.
Many states have only just begun to compile statewide voter registration lists (search) to comply with a 2002 federal voting law. Such lists allow state officials to find double registrations within a state, but states rarely coordinate with one another.
Virtually nothing prevents transitory voters from casting ballots in multiple states. In the 2000 presidential election, about 100 Ohio voters also cast ballots in Florida, where the presidential race was decided by just 537 votes, the northeast Ohio newspaper reported.
About 11,000 Republicans and 9,600 Democrats are registered in both Ohio and Florida, records show. There at least 6,400 who are either independent or registered with another party.
According to voting records, some voters registered in both Florida and Ohio in the same month, the newspaper reported.
Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood (search) has asked the Justice Department to launch an investigation of double voting involving people residing in Florida and other states, although a spokeswoman for Hood noted that it was not illegal to be registered in two places.
Voters who migrate between multiple homes are supposed to declare themselves a primary resident of one state for voting purposes, said Carlo LoParo, a spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (search). Residency rules differ from state to state.
Michael Paparizos, 67, who has homes in Pasco County, Fla., and Independence, Ohio, said he received an absentee ballot from Florida but does not plan to use it.
"I don't want to vote twice," he told the paper. "I vote in Ohio."