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October 10, 2008
Alabama's Voters Not Removed For Social Security Numbers

Montgomery –Secretary of State Beth Chapman said Alabamians are not being removed or hindered from voting because of any problems with their Social Security Numbers.


The Social Security Administration sent out a press release this week claiming a number of states had more requests to check social security numbers for voter registration purposes than usual. The Social Security Administration notified the states via fax letter on Monday and released the press release the following day.


Since that time, there have been questions about checking the social security numbers for voter registration purposes and whether individuals were being removed from the voter list if there was a problem with a social security number.


The Help America Vote Act established the requirement of using a valid driver’s license number to create an identifier for voters in a voter registration system. Secretary of State Beth Chapman notified the Boards of Registrars that a driver’s license number must be used first, above any other information, in order to register to vote. 


If a person does not possess a valid driver’s license number, or in the event that the driver’s license number is invalid after a check from the Department of Public Safety, the last four digits of the social security number are to be used to create an identifier for the voter. The Social Security Administration said they are getting more requests to check for these numbers than usual from the State of Alabama, as well as other states.


In some states, an invalid social security number or lack of a matching driver’s license number will prevent a person from being registered to vote. “We do not want to be painted with a broad stroke by the national media,” Chapman said. “Voter registration laws around the nation are specific to the individual states.”


Chapman said she accounts for the large number of checks on social security numbers due to a major increase in voter registration applications being processed by the Boards of Registrars. “One county has registered over 35,000 voters in less than three months” Chapman said. “We are all working over and above what we have seen in prior elections. I can sympathize with the Social Security Administration’s abundance of work, because we all have an abundance of important work to do at this time. 


However, “Democracy is much more important than bureaucracy,” Chapman said and “To that end we will continue to work toward making this election the most honest and fair election possible” Chapman concluded.



For more information, visit Secretary of State John H. Merrill’s Web Site: