County audit finds duplicate voter records but no one who voted twice

County audit finds duplicate voter records but no one who voted twice
Workers count mail-in and absentee ballots at the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder County Clerk office in Norwalk during the November 2014 election. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

A recent audit of voter registration records in Los Angeles County found a few dozen voters with duplicate registration records, but did not find any cases where people had actually voted twice in the same election.

County supervisors asked for a review of voter records after KNBC News reported in November that at least 442 people -- and possibly as many as 52,000 -- were registered to vote more than once in the county registrar's system.

The county auditor-controller's office reviewed a sampling of 100 voters with possible duplicate registrations based on name, address and -- in some cases -- date of birth, and found 53 who were registered to vote more than once. Many of the duplicate registrations had been in the system for three or four years.

Records from the registrar initially showed that three of those people had voted twice in a recent election, according to the audit, but a further review of the records showed that they had actually not voted twice, and that registrar staff had made mistakes in entering voter information.


The review also found about 1,900 people who should have had a date of birth entered in the system but did not.

The registrar's office "needs to continue and expand recent efforts to strengthen controls to minimize the number of duplicate voter registrations and registrants without a date of birth" and to ensure that voter information is "accurate and up-to-date," the auditors wrote.

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who had sought the audit, called the confirmation of duplicate registrations "alarming," even though the review had not found anyone who votes twice.

"Those who are registering twice could be testing the system for a future election, and that's the concern," he said.

He said he would be asking for the registrar's office to complete a review of all of the potential duplicate registrations.

"They need to do more, not less, and this needs to be a priority," he said.

In a response to the audit, officials with the registrar's office noted that their staff have done "extensive analysis to identify, manually review, and correct duplicate records" since July and are still working on cleaning up the records.

"We are pleased that the audit's findings, in spite of the suggestion that these duplicate records allow for acts of voter fraud, identified no instance of any individual voting twice in a single election," Chief Deputy Registrar Debbie Martin wrote. She added that the registrar wants to ensure that the office goes about weeding out duplicate records "in a way that will not compromise our core mission to ensure that all citizens who have registered and wish to exercise their right to vote are afforded the opportunity to do so."

Follow Abby Sewell on Twitter at @sewella for more county news.