Jane Drury voted last year in an election in Stonington, Conn. The only problem is, she died eight years ago.
Her daughter, Jane Gumpel, thought someone must have goofed.
“I was surprised because this is not possible,” she said.
But it did happen. The town clerk’s record clearly shows Drury’s vote, marked by a horizontal line poll workers put next to her name. And it turns out Drury isn’t the only voter who apparently cast a ballot from the grave.
The issue of dead voters showing up on ballot records continues to be a problem for election administrators across the country.
Journalism professor Marcel Dufresne of the University of Connecticut led a class investigation into dead voters and said his group of 11 students discovered 8,558 deceased people who were still registered on Connecticut’s voter rolls. They said more than 300 of them appeared somehow to have cast ballots after they died.
“We have one person who appeared to have voted 17 times since he died,” Dufresne told FOX News.
Dufresne said there is no evidence of any election fraud, but the number of dead voters “shows the system is vulnerable, and it shows that people who are clever and have a little cooperation in the town level, you could use this and get people to vote for people who died.”
Yet Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz is adamant that “actually no dead people voted.”
“I want to be very clear about that,” she said, explaining that while votes were cast and counted in the names of the dead, “there was no voter fraud at all in the state of Connecticut.”
“Did we have clerical errors where the wrong voter was crossed off? Yes,” she said.
But ballots cast in the names of the dead were counted in her state and in others. In the 2004 governor’s race in Washington state, officials confirmed 19 votes were cast by people who were dead. Republican Dino Rossi lost that election by only 133 votes.
“It was the closest governor’s race in U.S. history. After the fact we found a number of dead people voted. I don’t know how they voted — you have to talk to Shirley MacLaine about that,” Rossi said.
While in Connecticut, officials say poll workers confused the names of dead people with real voters, some of the dead votes were absentee ballots apparently filled out illegally by relatives.
Removing the names of the deceased from voter rolls could solve the problem of post-mortem voting, but local election officials like registrar Andrea Eppling say that’s not as easy as it might appear.
“The reason why is that if you go into a nursing home in the next town and you die there — we’re not going to find out.” Eppling said that such information isn’t shared by towns and among the states — something Connecticut’s top election official Secretary Bysiewicz says is changing.
“It’s critical that we have clean and accurate voting lists especially as we go into this very high turnout in November,” Bysiewicz said.
Connecticut removed 5,000 of the deceased from its voter rolls in the last two months.
And since the last presidential election, more than 2 million dead people have been identified, and dropped, from the nation’s voting rolls.
Presumably, Jane Drury won’t be voting again, even as her daughter remains stumped that a ballot was cast in her mother’s name in the first place.
“I couldn’t imagine because I didn’t think she voted — it was an impossible situation to me,” she said.
Officials say when it comes to dead voters, most of the problems are simply mistakes, not political corruption. But they admit that as long as the deceased remain registered to vote, the potential for fraud is alive and well.
Yeah Right…Uh Huh