It has been reported that the Trump campaign has announced a Nevada lawsuit over non-resident voters alleging inter alia that a significant number of Nevada voters were resident outside the state, and hence under Nevada law ineligible.

If all election law is governed by the state, who is meant to look out for people who may have residences, or voting registrations in multiple states?

In Britain it is possible to be on the electoral roll (a compulsory registration completed annually by householders) in more than one place. However it is illegal to cast more than one vote in the same election e.g. a parliamentary election, held on the same day.

One can in the UK, however, vote in two separate local council elections on the same day - I was surprised to discover - if one is registered in two places.

So is it possible that some of the Nevada absentee voters. also voted elsewhere?

  • 6
    Possible as in "you can sometimes get away with it without getting caught", or possible as in legal?
    – Peter
    Nov 9, 2020 at 12:16
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    @Peter Well I'm thinking that if the law governing who can vote is set by each individual state - then there must be legal opportunity for loopholes to arise where people can vote in two places. The position as regards Nevada is apparently that one has to be "resident". What exactly does "resident" mean? Could someone, who played their cards right, be legally resident in two or more places? Or could it be that another state not base eligibility on residence, but on some other criterion, such as "having a long-term association with"? Can you register in more than one place?
    – WS2
    Nov 9, 2020 at 12:48
  • @ItalianPhilosophers4Monica Noted and amended.
    – WS2
    Nov 9, 2020 at 23:23

2 Answers 2


If a voter moves between states, they should be removed from the voter rolls of their previous state. Mechanisms to notify states about residence changes are described here:

HAVA requires states to identify duplicate records on the registration list. States identify duplicates within their borders, and they can also cooperate with other states to identify potential duplicate records across state lines. If a new voter in a state fills out a voter registration form and indicates that he was a registered voter in another state previously, jurisdictions will typically inform the other state that the voter has moved. In recent years there has also been an increased focus on interstate database comparisons that allow participating states to directly compare their data to identify potential duplicate registrations or inaccuracies.

The Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) has been joined by well over half of the states. The mission of ERIC is to assist states in improving the accuracy of voter rolls, and also increase access to voter registration for eligible citizens. It provides states with a proactive rather than a reactive method of keeping up with their voter lists, and is a good way to keep up with a mobile population. ERIC also uses resources such as the Social Security death index and NCOA (National Change Of Address) data, which means it can be a “one-stop shop” for many list maintenance and data comparison activities. It provides monthly reports to the states

  • What about moving from a state that starts counting of absentee ballots early? Presumably the link between a voter and their vote is destroyed by the time a vote is counted.
    – Peter
    Nov 9, 2020 at 12:50
  • This is a partial answer, for which +1. But is there an overall law which makes it illegal to vote twice in the same election? Is it enforced?
    – WS2
    Nov 9, 2020 at 13:00
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    Once again, different states have different laws on double voting.
    – Denis
    Nov 9, 2020 at 13:12
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    @Denis It does sound a bit of a nightmare - but I suppose that voter-fraud would have to be conducted on a massive scale for it to anfluence any result. That is the primary protection.
    – WS2
    Nov 9, 2020 at 14:20
  • @Peter: You generally have to register to vote in the new state some time (I think 30 days is common) before the election, but usually early/mail in voting starts later than that.
    – jamesqf
    Nov 9, 2020 at 20:54

The process for USA elections requires that the precinct election official has a list of people who are:

  1. Eligible to vote.
  2. Are registered to vote in this election.
  3. Live in the area covered by the polling location.

You are then matched to the list via your government ID, and have to sign something where they can compare your signature to that of the person-of-your-name who voted last time around. This serves as filling your 'slot', and thus nobody else can vote in that precinct under your name. If you go to the wrong polling location, they will be unable to match your name/ID to an eligible voter in that precinct. Using your ID, they can usually direct you to the proper location for you to vote.

If you are unable to vote in your proper precinct (for whatever reason), you can go to the county election board and vote using a provisional ballot. These are subjected to greater scrutiny, and are compared against the list submitted by the precinct at the end of voting such that someone who voted in both locations would have one of their votes thrown out, and submitted for voter fraud.

Now, is there a chance that someone who lived in Nevada and registered to vote there, then moved to a different state and registered to vote there, might have been missed by the Nevada voting commission and thus be left on the list of registered voters so they could vote absentee?

Yes, as we do not yet have a nationwide registry of voters, and while there are safeguards in place to prevent this scenario, county governments have varying degrees of competence in enforcing these safeguards. But as absentee ballots, they are treated to extra scrutiny, similar to the provisional ballot people, and they would be charged with voter fraud when they are caught. So while there is a non-zero chance of one or two people being able to vote twice, thousands of people 'falling through the cracks' is basically unheard-of.

  • 1
    I have never provided ID while casting a vote for 20yrs. Only signature match on file.
    – paulj
    Nov 9, 2020 at 13:28
  • Then you're lucky. Nevada poll workers apparently can ask for ID, though it is not the law. b.3cdn.net/advancement/4683c27dcddddf627c_t7m6iyxnh.pdf
    – Carduus
    Nov 9, 2020 at 13:30
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    Not lucky, just a blue state resident
    – paulj
    Nov 9, 2020 at 13:33
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    Don't forget about same-day registration, which some states have. States that do that have to have extra checks to make sure you don't same-day-register in multiple polling locations, but it is a way you might be able to vote without being on the list.
    – Bobson
    Nov 9, 2020 at 15:55
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    The number of votes at issue in the Nevada challenge is not more than 3000 which is significantly less than Biden's margin of victory in that state. washingtonpost.com/national/trump-voters-reaction/2020/11/09/…
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 9, 2020 at 23:30

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