Under the Dome

Coleman campaign seeks DMV voter registration records

The campaign for Linda Coleman, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, is seeking voter registration records from the state Division of Motor Vehicles covering the last two years.

The Coleman campaign is working to have thousands of provisional votes counted by local boards of election this week, and is looking for cases where voters are about to have their ballots wrongfully thrown out.  Campaign officials think that the DMV voter registration database will show that people who should be counted as  registered cast ballots that for some reason are in question.

Coleman trails her Republican opponent Dan Forest by 11,103. Counting more provisional votes could put her ahead, or at least pull her into recount range.

A 2011 report to Congress on voter registrations shows that in 2009-2010, 339,943 people registered to vote at the DMV, accounting for about 62.5 percent of new registrations. That was higher than the national average.

Of the 54,365 voter registration applications from 2008 to 2010 found to be invalid, nearly half were filed by people who registered at the DMV, slightly higher than the national average.

The Coleman campaign believes that some of those voter registrations were improperly deemed invalid, and that there's a correlation between those people and those who cast provisional ballots on Election Day.

"Those votes should be counted," said Mark Schneider, who is working for Coleman's legal fund.

Update: Thomas Farr, an attorney representing Forest, said election boards already use DMV records in their research of provisional ballots.

"I think they've done a pretty good job of that over the years," Farr said.

The Coleman campaign is under a tight deadline. County elections boards are to finalize their vote tallies by Friday. 

The public information request to the DMV asks for the registration information by Wednesday afternoon.

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