I know you-all were anxiously awaiting further updates on this Fox News scoop, so here goes:
Over the last two weeks, Fox has repeatedly promoted the claim that voter fraud is indicated by records showing that more than 900 South Carolina residents were recorded as casting a vote after their reported death date. Lou Dobbs, Bill Hemmer, and Neil Cavuto all gave state Attorney General Alan Wilson a platform to offer up this assertion, and on Monday Bret Baier reported that Wilson had notified the Justice Department of this “potential voter fraud.”
But the Columbia Free-Times’ Corey Hutchins reports that the Election Commission has examined six names from the list — the only six names Wilson’s office had turned over. At a hearing this morning, the agency revealed that none of those cases involved a ballot actually being cast in a deceased person’s name:
In a news release election agency spokesman Chris Whitmire handed out prior to the hearing, the agency disputed the claim that dead people had voted. One allegedly dead voter on the DMV’s list cast an absentee ballot before dying; another was the result of a poll worker mistakenly marking the voter as his deceased father; two were clerical errors resulting from stray marks on voter registration lists detected by a scanner; two others resulted from poll managers incorrectly marking the name of the voter in question instead of the voter above or below on the list.
The attorney general’s office had only given the State Election Commission six names off its list of 957 names to examine. The agency found every one of them to be alive and otherwise eligible to vote, except for the one who had voted before dying.
Election Commission director Marci Andino’s testimony:
“Characterizing this as an established fact threatens our confidence” in the election process, she said. “This is not a question that needs to linger in the minds of voters … the truth is out there.”
I used to work for the postal service. When I started as a poll worker (I’m no longer a poll worker) I was struck by how similar election process is to working with mail. Names, addresses, people move, they get married, they die, there are a lot of forms and it’s detail-oriented, because it’s a big country and people lead complicated lives. It’s also similar in that there are rules, and most of the rules make sense. While there are occasionally screw-ups, they’re usually due to something incredibly boring and mundane, as here, rather than MALICE or CRIME. It’s a big country, but it isn’t chaos out there. We manage, mostly.
When one hears hoofbeats, in a process or system like that, one looks for horses, not ZEBRAS.
This is from the website of the attorney general of South Carolina:
953 dead people voted in recent elections
South Carolina Attorney General sent word to US Attorney for South Carolina Bill Nettles of data suggesting potential voter fraud in South Carolina. Specifically, data reviewed by the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles suggests that 953 dead people voted in recent elections. 1.19.12 Letter to US Attorney Bill Nettles
I mean, come on. I understand conservatives are trumping up voter fraud for partisan reasons, I understand they’re under some pressure to produce some evidence of voter fraud because they’re finally getting really bad press for this ridiculous fact-free crusade they’re on, but he’s the attorney general, and this is a state website. It isn’t Fox News. It’s a state agency. What a crazy-ass assertion to make.
If the dead of SC are voting in large numbers, they are selecting lousy candidates.
So the republican majorities in South Carolina depend on fraud?
Kay, in a week where the state republicans in Georgia are consorting with birthers and implicitly threatening Obama with exclusion from the ballot if he doesn’t testify, this doesn’t shock me at all.
I worked in the Canadian federal election last spring. It was probably one of my most nerve-wracking jobs ever, even though it only lasted one day. We actually have fairly strict voter ID laws up here, and I had to turn away one voter who couldn’t pull together something with a photo and something with an address. (I have no driver’s license, so when I voted in the advance polls, my photo ID was my Ontario health card.) I don’t think our laws need to be that strict, but I felt obliged to follow them.
“I have a list of 953
known Communists in the State Departmentdead people who voted in the last election.”
I saw the headline and thought you were going to pick up on the revelation by Ron Paul’s secretary that he really DID know about his own newsletter all along:
Andrew Sullivan emo-troll watch starts now….
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
Recommendation: The proportion of Representatives for each state should be based on the number of people who voted in all of the previous decades federal elections – those for President and for Congress. This puts an incentive on getting voters who are eligible to vote.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
@Suffern ACE: I’m not sure why you expect the dead to be *more* discerning than the living.
“Making crazy-ass assertions”is a close second to “treason” on shit South Carolina does best.
Excellent piece, Kay.
Facts are for little people with small ideas.
This just makes me crazy. My winger brother is always going on about it and when I question “what voter fraud?” he gets this look on his face like he’s going to explode and starts shouting “ACORN! ACORN!” He absolutely believes that I’ve succumbed to lie-brul propaganda and brainwashing since I Can’t. See. What’s. In. Front. Of. My. Face! Ya can’t counter it. They’re just so sure that the poors and the not-like-thems are gonna swindle them, somehow.
Anonymous At Work
Question: For absentee or early-voting ballots, is the vote ineligible if the voter dies after submitting the ballot but before the election day itself?
Confederates rising from the grave to cast votes in South Carolina’s elections would explain a great many things.
Follow-on question: were the dead Democrats or Republicans?
Villago Delenda Est
Fascist vermin like the Faux nooze shitstains have just been making this shit up for years. The utter sewer that is The American Spectator invented voter fraud in Oregon a decade ago, in regards to our vote by mail elections, out of whole cloth and they were never taken to task for it.
Kay @ Top:
The only distinction between Fox News and the GOP is the distinction between a Marketing Department and its Product Delivery System. I.E., Fox News is the parent corporation, and the GOP is the branch that implements whatever they’re selling this week.
The Ancient Randonneur
Nothing like an officer of the court AND a state official propagating demonstrably false accusations. But these are the same people who believe that it is OBVIOUS that evolution is a big lie and that “intelligent design” is the only plausible answer to how life on Earth came to be. Now if they could make everyone see that other OBVIOUS truth, that the guy in the White House is a foreign born Manchurian Candidate planted to bring about the New World Caliphate we would all just vote for the candidate with real values … Newton! Leroy! Gingrich! … Jesus Babbling Christ I think I’ve got whiplash … I need a drink, or maybe a 420 break is in order. Oy!
@Anonymous At Work: In most states, probably not. I mean what if someone casts a vote in person and gets hit by a truck on the way from the polls? I suspect the same principle is there with absentees. If otherwise valid, it counts.
The Moar You Know
Not if your goal is the destruction of democracy.
Make no mistake, that is exactly the goal.
but he’s the attorney general, and this is a state website
I can never keep misfeasance and malfeasance straight…
Mike in NC
Crazy-ass state agency in a crazy-ass state. What could possibly go wrong with that?
I love poll worker stories. Do poll workers say “get them voted” in Canada, like they do in Ohio? That always made me laugh.
“You’re voted. Now get out.”
They absolutely, positively know evil liberals are scamming them, yet these ultra suspicious, conspiracy prone rightwingers never have a doubt whatever Fox and the rest say might not be true. A true skeptic wouldn’t take anyone’s word at face value.
@Svensker: Yes, yes. That’s the first thing that comes up as the great prime example of absolutely proven voter fraud. It’s amazing how much power and influence that little, now defunct organization has.
” … but he’s the attorney general”? Please, wise up!
It’s South Carolina, he’s a Republican and Republicans, in a variation of their projection game, are busily distracting the country away from their decades long program of ELECTION fraud (and voter suppression) by fantasizing about VOTER fraud.
To expect integrity from this ilk is high self-delusion.
@kay: Nope, we don’t use that phrase. I got into a rhythm pretty soon and was in the flow during the evening rush: greet next person in line, present folded paper ballot with my instructional spiel “As I’m sure you know, Gord, blahblahblah make a clear X in the circle blahblahblah give it to me when you’re done blah”, point them to the booth, greet and commiserate with the next voter “Sorry, Shania, we have to wait for currentVoter to finish before I can give you your ballot”, execute the bilaterally symmetrical handoff to exiting and entering voter, thank exiting voter, deposit ballot, repeat.
I’ll have to figure out how to work in some references to Tim’s, curling and 2-4s at the end, just to thoroughly Canadianize the experience.
@Anonymous At Work:
I don’t know. My step father in law (my husband’s mother’s second husband) voted absentee in Indiana in 2004 and then died before the election. He died in Turkey, but that’s immaterial.
He was a big lefty, and a genuinely nice person, and he really loathed Bush, so I wondered but I never checked.
In election law, voter intent is big (among liberals-it’s another election law thing that liberals and conservatives disagree on, voter intent) so my assumption would be that they count the vote in. They wouldn’t have known with him, because records wouldn’t be created or come back that fast.
@kay: Good point. Unless it was in the news, it takes time for info to get back to certain agencies. I mean, the Board of Elections is doubtless very low on the list of priorities of who to inform of a death, especially since the deceased can’t make an appearance. And in some cases, if you haven’t voted in so long, you may be purged off the rolls anyway.
Let me make a prediction.
Now that they’ve got the Electoral Commission to call BS by handing over 6 names that definately are not evidence of voter fraud, they wait a while, let the kettle boil, and then release double that number of names, all of which turn out to actually belong to dead people.
See!? Proof of massive voter-fraud that THEY were trying to cover up. Their Base will gobble it up, and the MSM will go along with the narrative.
When all these fraudulent votes turn out to have been cast by proto-O’Keefe stingers who just wanted to show how easy – and so, it follows, commonplace – voter fraud must be will be ignored and forgotten outside of Lefty Blogs. The story will be that voter-fraud is real and the only people trying to do something about it are Republicans.
Trolling their Base and handing the MSM a meme they can run with. It’s always worked before, why change a winning formula?
A while back, Jon Stewart to Ann Coulter:
“You just make shit up.”
Yep, that pretty much says it all, and it goes from Faux News right to state level agencies to county election boards. Nonexistent voter fraud is rampant, because OMG the Islamofascistsoshulist menace is coming to take your guns and give all your tax dollars to Those People and make your daughters marry each other and forcibly turn you into Teh Gay…or something. Plus there’s money to be made by stoking wingnut fears,just ask Rush or the NRA.
As always, this is good news for John McCain. I blame Obama.
I’m all for running with this Fox truthiness – Republicans should be forced to show ID because they have demonstrated their lack of respect for the voting process.
An interesting tidbit for you: the Attorney General in SC is the son of Jow “You Lie” Wilson.
Oh, the irony…
This would make make a great (well, at least different) zombie movie: Night of the Dead Voters.
Big scene during the South Carolina Republican primary when the zombie voters descend on the polls croaking, “Braaaains, braaaains!” and the plucky poll worker tells them “Sorry, you’ll have to come back when we got some Democrats votin’.”
These guys aren’t even looking for zebras. They’ve shot right past into looking for unicorns; fantasy beasts that no one has ever seen, that don’t really exist, but they’re certain they will find, because their hearts are pure.
Hewer of Wood, Drawer of Water
“The dead are rising and are voting Republican” – Bart Simpson
It’s a great day in South Carolina!
Seriously, I hope that death between absentee voting and election day doesn’t disqualify the vote. Next thing you know there will be a spree of murders and suspicious accidents every 4th October…
Let me go out on a limb and predict that FOX will not cover the story of the 6 legal voters.
Or any other subsequent story that shows the original allegations to be false.
And their listeners, who will never hear otherwise, will go on repeating the original story until the end of their lives.
We shouldn’t believe we’ve one this one, even though the facts are on our side.
The facts are often unpalatable, whereas lies are frequently what we–or rather, what FOX viewers–want to hear.
won, not one–editor won’t let me edit, grrr…@Bulworth:
Kay, this is hilarious. It’s an excuse to disenfranchise old people and minorities, no one denies that, but the way this was put across was still hilarious.