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Another Use for AI: Finding Millions of Unregistered Voters


The software developed by Jeff Jonas and his colleagues helps to identify eligible voters and clean up voter rolls.

The multistate Electronic Registration Information Center, since its founding in 2012, has identified 26 million people who are eligible but unregistered to vote, as well as 10 million registered voters who have moved, appear on more than one list, or have died.

Credit: Eve Edelheit/The New York Times

IBM's Jeff Jonas has for several years used his artificial intelligence software for a multistate project to identify eligible voters and purge voter rolls of inaccuracies.

The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) has identified 26 million eligible individuals who are unregistered to vote, in addition to 10 million registered voters who have relocated, appear on more than one list, or are deceased.

Each member group of ERIC collects a minimum of voter registration and motor vehicle license data, and Jonas' software absorbs and connects that data, integrating it with other information such as postal change-of-address lists. Private personal information is assigned a one-way encryption privacy "hash" that humans cannot decipher.

The states that use ERIC said the software generates few false positives.

ERIC's constantly expanding database currently exceeds 275 million voter records.

From The New York Times
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