Like fingerprints, when taken all together, your nine digit social security number is unique to you. But, historically, the three distinct parts of that number are not unique to any one individual; the numbers within each grouping on your card may appear on another’s card in exactly the same sequence. Including the last four digits used to match voter registration names by the Interstate Crosscheck Voter Identification Program. The premise of the matches they claim to have found amongst North Carolina and out of state voters is invalid.
In 2011, Social Security officials adopted a new Randomization System, to better protect American workers. But the original system, used by everyone born before 2011, (like you and me) was created in the days when files were made of cardboard and contained actual pieces of paper. The numbers were assigned to facilitate the physical storage of paper documents. Files were originally stored by region as well as alphabetically. The first three numbers denoted a Geographic Code, and were assigned by state, beginning in the northeast and moving west. In 1972, these numbers were changed to reflect zip codes. This system was never really intended to be useful geographic information but was a bookkeeping device for internal use only.
To break these large groups of Georgraphic, or Area Numbers down into more manageable chunks a Group Number was assigned. This set of two digits were allotted to an applicant with odd numbers first, starting at 01. The next applicant would be given 03, and so on. When they reached 99, they went back to even numbers, starting at 02 up to 98. Then repeat. There were once rumors, now probably emails to your great aunt, claiming that the group numbers somehow denoted race, but this is not true.
But the numbers we are most interested in are the last four digits, the Serial Number.
Serial Numbers are a numerical sequence, 0001-9999 (at various times subsets of this group were set aside for special purposes and not generally issued: one set was used for railway workers, for instance, another for advertisements.) As the Geographic Code and Group Number were assembled to be given to an applicant, a set of the last four numbers were added, given out in numerical order. When the highest available sequence of four is reached, they go back to the beginning and the next applicant gets the numbers 0001.
The same sequence of Serial Numbers can legitimately appear on more than one card, as every Group Number adds the serial numbers, starting at 0001. There are individuals with group number 54 that have the serial number 4257, and individuals with the group number 88 that will also have the serial number 4257. Yes, your entire social security number is unique, but the last four digits are not.
This greatly increases the odds of an Ann Miller from Fayetteville, NC, having the same Social Security Serial Number as an Ann Miller from Spokane, Washington, even though the other five digits on their cards do not match.
A thorough investigation of the so-called ‘matches’ found by Interstate Crosscheck will find many Americans of working age will have the same last four digits on their Social Security card, and some of those people will have the same name.
Odds are, that even within the state of North Carolina, there are people with matching Serial Numbers on their Social Security Cards. No, no one should be allowed to vote twice by going from state to state. No one is in favor of that. But when there are 45,370 individuals assigned to each of the 4 digit Serial Numbers, then there are not thousands of fraudulent voters in North Carolina.