Data in South Carolina Answers Questions about Deceased Voters on the Rolls
New data in South Carolina provide insight into whether voters flagged as potentially deceased on the state’s rolls had ballots cast in their names.
In recent testimony, Marci Andino, executive director of the South Carolina State Election Commission, cites an analysis conducted in early January by the state’s department of motor vehicles, which flagged 37,000 names on the voter registration list as likely deceased. Further review suggested that as many as 953 of these people might have cast ballots over the past six years. But additional research determined that no fraudulent votes related to the flagged voters had been cast.
In light of the initial data and with little time before the state’s January 21 Republican presidential primary, the commission quickly investigated whether any of the 37,000 had requested absentee ballots. The commission found that 10 of these voters had done so. Follow-up confirmed that all 10 voters were in fact alive and eligible to cast their ballots.
The state attorney general’s office then supplied the commission with the names of six of the 953 who had possibly cast ballots. Five were found to be on the list as a result of clerical errors by poll workers or stray marks on the voter registration list. The sixth had passed away after legally casting an absentee ballot.
In her remarks, Andino notes the potential harm associated with releasing any preliminary findings without a full investigation. She says, “characterizing [fraud] as an established fact threatens the confidence our citizens have in our election process.”Andino notes that, while her office has made many efforts to improve the quality of voter registration and election data information, it is not a perfect system, and based on her 25 years of elections experience, such errors are not uncommon. She goes on to emphasize the need for full and thorough analysis, stating, “the records are clear and readily available, so this is not a question that needs to linger in the minds of voters concerned about the integrity of our elections.”