Jared Kushner, who is married to Trump's daughter Ivanka, is currently registered to vote in New Jersey and New York. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and one of his closest White House advisers, is registered to vote in both New Jersey and New York, while White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer is on the rolls both in Virginia and his home state of Rhode Island, according to elections officials and voting registration records.
Their dual registrations offer two more high-profile examples of how common it is for voters to be on the rolls in multiple states -- something Trump has claimed is evidence of voter fraud.
With Kushner and Spicer, The Washington Post has now identified five Trump family members or top administration appointees who were registered in two states during the fall election. The others are chief White House strategist Stephen K. Bannon; Tiffany Trump, the president's youngest daughter; and Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin, as first reported by CNN.
White House officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Trump said this week that the fact that many voters are registered in two states is a sign of widespread voter fraud, calling for a “major investigation” into his unsubstantiated claim that millions of people cast illegal ballots in November.
“You have people that are registered who are dead, who are illegals, who are in two states,” the president told ABC's David Muir on Wednesday. “You have people registered in two states. They're registered in a New York and a New Jersey. They vote twice. There are millions of votes, in my opinion.”
It is not illegal to be registered to vote in two states, and elections officials say that does not mean voters are casting ballots in two locations. In fact, it is quite common for out-of-date registrations to linger on the rolls, due to voters dying or moving to new jurisdictions. A 2012 Pew Center on the States study that Trump has erroneously cited as evidence of voter fraud found that about 2.75 million people were registered in more than one state — largely because voters did not report when they moved to new jurisdictions.
During the daily briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that widespread voter fraud is a belief President Trump has “maintained for a while.”(Reuters)
“It's not fraud,” said John Lindback, executive director of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC), a nonprofit organization that works with states to improve the accuracy of their voting rolls. “When people move from one state to another or move down the street, they don’t think to change their voter registration.”
That appears to be what happened in the case of Kushner, who married Trump's daughter Ivanka in October 2009. New Jersey voting records show that he registered to vote there in 1999 and cast ballots in New Jersey through the November 2009 state general election, when now-Gov. Chris Christie (R) was on the ballot for his first race.
Later that month, Kushner registered in New York at his Park Avenue address. Voting records show he began casting ballots in New York in 2010.
Representatives for Kushner did not respond to requests for comment.
Spicer last voted in Rhode Island in 1998, according to state records, which means his registration should have been declared inactive or removed by now. But the Rhode Island Board of Elections confirmed to the Post that he is still listed as having an active voter registration. Since September 1999, Spicer has also been registered to vote in Alexandria, Va., according to elections officials there.
In the case of Bannon, he was registered until this week in both New York and Florida, despite his efforts to remove himself from the rolls in the latter. Mnuchin is registered in both New York, where he last voted in 2008, and in California, where he cast his ballot in November, election records show. And Tiffany Trump, the president's daughter, is registered in New York and Pennsylvania, where she was attending college until May.
On Thursday, White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway disputed that Tiffany Trump held dual registrations, telling NBC's “Today” that the president's youngest daughter told her “it is flatly false that she is registered in two states.”
But elections officials said voters often do not realize they stay on the rolls after they have moved out of a jurisdiction.
One major reason that out-of-date registrations are not always flagged is that less than half the states participate in ERIC, a cooperative that was created after the 2012 Pew study to help make voter rolls more accurate and comprehensive. Members of the group, which currently includes 20 states and the District of Columbia, are required to share their voter registration data every 60 days. The nonprofit group uses that data — along with information from state motor vehicle departments, the Social Security death index and the U.S. Postal Service's national change of address list — to match and update voter files. In 2016, it identified about 2 million voterswho had moved, passed away or had duplicate registrations.
“Before ERIC was formed, it was much worse,” Lindback said. But he noted that some of the most populous states, including California, Florida and New York, do not participate. If more states join,"the number of cases will go way down,” he added.
Lindback, who previously served as Oregon's director of elections, said he is hopeful that Trump's focus on dual registrations could help encourage more states to exchange data. But he said he's concerned that the president's debunked claims that millions of illegal votes were cast in November could “have the effect of reducing confidence in how our elections are run.”
“I just don’t get it,” he added. “I have been in elections a lot of years, and it's usually the loser of an election who claims fraud. I’ve never seen a winner claim fraud. What is going on here?”