Analysis

Revisiting Dead Voter Allegations in South Carolina

Following up on a dispatch from earlier this year, further investigation by the South Carolina State Election Commission (SEC) found no conclusive evidence of ballots fraudulently cast by deceased voters. 

Of 953 suspect votes over the past six years, the commission has so far investigated 207, all from the 2010 election. The review concluded that:

  • In 197 of the cases, no evidence indicated that the votes were cast fraudulently. The commission identified the following as causes for the problems with these ballots:
    • 106 were due to clerical errors by poll managers.
    • 32 were due to people incorrectly being recorded as having voted when they did not.
    • 3 were absentee ballots cast by a voter who then died before Election Day.
    • 56 cases were due to bad data matching, where it appears the state Department of Motor Vehicles office only matched the voter’s social security number against the death file. In these cases, the SEC found the names and dates of birth did not match those in the death records.
  • In the remaining 10 cases, there was not enough evidence to determine whether or not the votes were cast in the name of deceased voters.

As noted in a recent report by the Pew Center on the States, keeping accurate voter registration lists is a challenge, one that South Carolina is looking to address.

“This issue has presented an opportunity for the agency to improve its procedures for maintaining the quality of data in the statewide voter registration list,” said Marci Andino, executive director of the South Carolina State Election Commission.