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Sample List Of South Carolina’s ‘Dead Voters’ Shows No Ballots Actually Cast By Dead People

Sample List Of South Carolina’s ‘Dead Voters’ Shows No Ballots Actually Cast By Dead People


Written by Scott Keyes

Earlier this month, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R) set off alarms by claiming there was evidence that over 900 dead people had voted in his state’s recent elections. The charge has since been echoed in a wide array of media outlets, nowhere more prominently than Fox News.

Although the state has not disclosed the names of the 900 zombies who allegedly showed up at the polls, Wilson did provide six names which he claims are on the list. Yet a preliminary review of these six by the South Carolina State Election Commission reveals six far more innocent explanations (bolds are ours):

  • One was an absentee ballot cast by a voter who then died before election day;
  • Another was the result of an error by a poll worker who mistakenly marked the voter as Samuel Ferguson, Jr. when the voter was in fact Samuel Ferguson, III;
  • Two were the result of stray marks on the voter registration list detected by the scanner – again, a clerical error;
  • The final two were the result of poll managers incorrectly marking the name of the voter in question instead of the voter listed either above or below on the list.

When ThinkProgress wrote about Wilson’s charge two and a half weeks ago, we noted that nearly every time someone makes dead voter allegations, the culprit ends up being “a spelling error, a check-in error, or simply a death shortly after Election Day.” Indeed, clerical errors and a death close to Election Day is precisely what happened in Abbeville County, not voting from the grave.

Though Fox News ran multiple segments hyping the allegations that dead people had tainted South Carolina’s elections, a preliminary review shows that the cable station has yet to report on the State Election Commission’s review debunking Wilson’s charge.

In many ways, this is the major problem: “dead voter” claims are sexy, getting reported far and wide nearly every election. Yet when the allegations are inevitably shown to be false, far fewer news outlets follow up. As a result, many people never learn that dead voters didn’t taint South Carolina’s recent elections.

Every few years, officials undertake the same Scooby Doo-routine, claiming to have uncovered damning evidence of dead voters, only to ultimately conclude that simpler explanations account for the inconsistencies. Just like Maryland and California in 1994, Georgia in 1998, or New Hampshire in 2004, South Carolina is the latest state to put on the “dead voter” Kabuki performance.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.


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Photo from rodolpho.reis via flickr

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7:45PM PST on Nov 6, 2014

Agree w/ Andrew C !!!!

3:12PM PST on Feb 27, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

7:51PM PDT on Jul 18, 2012

GOOD POINT--We got to get the word out--The Real Fraud of Voter Fraud is Voter Fraud--ITSELF.

1:02PM PST on Feb 7, 2012

It appears the dead voter claim as need for recent ALEC drafted voter ID bills is perhaps just cover to disenfranchise minority, poor and elderly voters to distort elections to the proponents' agendas.

5:00PM PST on Feb 6, 2012

Hey, its America...let them VOTE early and VOTE often.

11:02AM PST on Feb 3, 2012

not that i'm convinced that there's any validity to dead people voting, at least in any great number-that's a joke-but it does bring to mind an old joke told about former President LBJ. LBJ won a hard fought election to the U S Senate where it was alleged that he got some votes out of the graveyards. in fact, that joke i spoke of earlier went like this: LBJ and some of his minions were in the boneyard getting names to put on ballots and one minion found a tombstone that was so old, the name was no longe legible. Can I skip this one? he asked LBJ. Hell, no! said LBJ. You get his name, too! He has as much of a right to vote as anyone in this cemetary!

5:44PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

I'm more concerned about the brain dead voters who gave Newt his win in South Carolina. Pull the plug on them.

5:19PM PST on Feb 2, 2012

Man, them dead peeple is reely sneeky. And while we uns is trin to get them to stop votin and ruinin our lections there's this there feller up in some place called New Hamshire or sumthin that just showed how to reely cheet on a lection. Hope he don do to jale. That's how freaking stupid I believe these people to be. There is very little actual voter fraud in the U.S. We do have voter intimidaton and obstruction. However, most of that is by the right wing conservanuts as it has been since HST and LBJ.

11:20AM PST on Feb 2, 2012

I think that when it all shakes out, we'll discover that the only "dead voters" who tried to cast ballots were working for/with that stupid James O'Keefe, and only one of them actually had a ballot in his hand before he was stopped.

The best part of O'Keefe's scam so far was that his research was so lousy and so poorly done that he had one of his operatives try to pass himself off as a living person, which ups the ante on the criminality of the whole venture. And, you know: good. The sooner O'Keefe is in Federal prison, the sooner he stops cavorting around running scams and trying to pass them off as journalism.

11:15AM PST on Feb 2, 2012

I think anyone voting for a Republican or the Tea Party MUST be brain dead, does that count??? Anyone voting to have their rights taken needs help.

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