Election Officials School Musk for Boosting ‘Clearly Incorrect’ Voter Registration ID Claims

Elon Musk dubbed an X/Twitter post “extremely concerning” after it alleged large numbers of voters were registering in the U.S. without IDs, but election officials in Texas and Arizona were quick to call him out for spreading misinformation.

The post, made by one of Musk’s favorite accounts @EndWokeness (a far-right account the Tesla CEO replies to incessantly), stated that “the number of voters without a photo ID is SKYROCKETING in 3 key swing states: Arizona, Texas, and Pennsylvania.”

The account cited data issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as part of the “Help America Vote Verification” program, which was created in 2004 to assist states with voter registration. Every time a state registers a new voter who provides only a name, date of birth, and social security number — in other words, without a driver’s license or other photo identification — the data is submitted to the SSA for verification.

The X post posited the data showed over two million voter identities in Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Texas were verified with the SSA since the start of 2024, suggesting it was because “illegals are not able to get licenses there. But they can get Social Security Cards (for work authorization permits).”

Stephen Richer, the Maricopa County Recorder, quote-tweeted Musk’s post with an eight-part response, offering the billionaire clearer insight behind how voter data is processed and presented. (Richer is a registered Republican and self-proclaimed “owner of many, many Musk-related products,” according to his post.)

“Only 39,653 new voters have registered in Maricopa County in 2024 in total. For Arizona, that number is about 60,000” Richer said.

Richer further explained that Arizona requires proof of citizenship to register to vote, and though it can use social security numbers to verify proof of identity, it puts them on a “federal only” list (meaning they have only provided federal identifying materials instead of a state driver’s license or ID) — with only about 30,000 voters in all of Arizona falling on that list.

“Most studies show that these people are disproportionately college-aged students (perhaps who don’t have ready access to a birth certificate),” Richer said. “But there is 0 validity to the suggestion in the original post that 220,731 illegal immigrants have registered in Arizona in 2024.”

Jane Nelson, the Texas Secretary of State, also issued a statement Wednesday, calling the data from the Social Security Administration “clearly incorrect” and saying there is an investigation to determine why “there is such a large discrepancy.”

“It is totally inaccurate that 1.2 million voters have registered to vote in Texas without a photo ID this year,” Nelson said. “The truth is our voter rolls have increased by 57,711 voters since the beginning of 2024.”

Nelson went on to say the number is smaller than the two past election years, when 65,000 new people had registered to vote in the first three months of 2022, and 104,000 people registered in the first quarter of 2020. She also clarified that voters in Texas must register with either a driver license number or a verified Social Security number.

Ellen Lyon, a spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of State, said Thursday that Pennsylvania does not require photo identification to register to vote, but asks applicants to provide their state driver’s license or ID card number. So far in 2024 there have been more than 75,000 new voter registrations in Pennsylvania, according to the state.

“Governor Josh Shapiro instituted Automatic Voter Registration in September 2023, which has led to a significant increase in voter registrations through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation,” Lyon wrote in an email. “In addition, voter registration historically rises in presidential election years, such as 2024, when compared with municipal elections, such as 2023.”

Those without state-issued ID can use their Social Security number, which are verified via the Help America Vote Verification program. However, the social security number is also verified separately for each absentee and mail ballot application, meaning the same voter’s number could be checked more than once in a year.

“The HAVV data cited in the social media post represents only the raw number of transactions that Pennsylvania counties sent for SSN verification,” Lyon added. “The data does not represent the numbers of newly registered voters, and any representation that they do is false.”

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