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Can dead people’s ballots be counted?

2022-10-24T17:29:31+00:00
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AP
  • What happens to dead people’s ballots?
  • Fraudulently casting a ballot can result in jail time.
  • It is considered a crime to cast ballots for deceased persons.

American election officials regularly check death records. In many states, vital statistics agencies send them monthly lists of people who have died which officials use to update voter registration records.

Election clerks can also verify the death of voters by other means, such as coordinating with departments of motor vehicles to track canceled driver’s licenses, searching for published obituaries, or processing testamentary letters of the deceased person’s estate.

Can dead people’s ballots be counted?

Election ballots deceased people
Photo: AP

According to The Associated Press, even if a deceased voter’s ballot is mailed in error, the signature verification and voter fraud laws create additional safeguards against anyone else who may try to fill it out and mail it.

Voters who forge the signatures of their deceased relatives on ballots can face fines, probation or prison. And in some states absentee voting requirements, such as witness signatures or notarization, add an additional barrier to prevent this rare form of voter fraud. Filed Under: Election ballots deceased people

Donald Trump and his supporters falsely claimed thousands of votes were cast fraudulently

Election ballots deceased people
Photo: AP

After the 2020 presidential election, former President Donald Trump and his supporters falsely claimed that thousands of votes had been fraudulently cast on behalf of deceased voters and even named specific deceased individuals whose ballots were allegedly counted.

These claims that encompassed many states, including Arizona, Virginia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia, turned out to be false. When the Arizona Attorney General investigated claims that 282 votes were cast for deceased people in 2020, he found that only one case was substantiated. Filed Under: Election ballots deceased people

They investigated a list of more than 200 alleged dead voters in Wayne County

Election ballots deceased people
Photo: AP

When Michigan Republican lawmakers investigated a list of more than 200 alleged dead voters in Wayne County, they found just two. The first was due to an error in which a son had been mistaken for his deceased father and the second involved a 92-year-old woman who sent in her ballot early and died four days before the election. Whether or not a vote like hers counts depends on state law.

At least 11 states — nine by statute and two based on attorney general opinions — prohibit counting the votes of absentee voters who return a ballot and die before Election Day, while nine states specifically allow it, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Filed Under: Election ballots deceased people.

Cases of electoral fraud by impersonating a deceased person are rare

There are cases of electoral fraud by impersonating a deceased person
Photo: AP

Other states are silent on the matter. Election integrity groups that review voter files often mistake a living voter for a deceased voter if they have similar names, dates of birth or places of residence, leading to false claims of fraud, said Jason Roberts, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

«You may think it’s weird that someone with the same name and date of birth has died, but it’s actually not that weird when you think about a country of 350 million people,» Roberts said. «It happens a lot.» There are rare cases of voter fraud by impersonating a deceased person. For example, a Las Vegas man admitted to voting his late wife’s ballot in 2020 and received a fine and probation for the crime. Filed Under: Election ballots deceased people

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