Data entry error in voter rolls is not something new during the voter registration process. It often happens while transferring voter registration information from handwritten registration applications to voter databases.
According to recent news, a report posted on the Oregon secretary of state’s website was really surprising. In the concerned report, it is said that the state’s two major parties lost about 36,000 registered voters in July. So the state’s overall number of registered voters has dropped by nearly 30,000. The inaccurate numbers are simply due to errors that happened while entering data into the State election database.
Why Errors in Voter Registration Occur
Applicants typically submit handwritten registration cards to the state registrar. These handwritten cards may contain mistakes already caused by the applicant (by forgetting to answer a question or not writing legibly) while entering data. Keying in errors can result in mis-transcriptions.
Errors can happen with transpositions (e.g. when ’19 is wrongly entered as 91′), Copying (e.g. when ‘0 is wrongly entered as O’), changes in coding scheme, and many more. However, by following certain measures data entry errors can be reduced to a considerable extent. Some of such methods include:
- Removing duplicates and other anomalies from secondary databases
- Manual checks during data capture
- Checking for possible range and consistency of data
- Double entry and double checking after data entry
- Providing adequate training to staff members and monitoring them during data entry
Experts say that nearly half of the reported irregularities in the voting system are the result of data entry errors. Errors in voter registration can be reduced by introducing online registration. This allows users to enter information directly to the registration form. However, mistakes in information may cause disastrous consequences, not only in the voting system but also in the healthcare, law and business fields. Effective mechanism for data validation and proofreading can help in detecting and correcting errors before they create trouble.