TV station find votes by dead people, but official sees no fraud

2016-10-29 08:04
An early voting sign is placed on the grass at an early voting celebration in Miami. (Lynne Sladky, AP)

An early voting sign is placed on the grass at an early voting celebration in Miami. (Lynne Sladky, AP)

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Philadelphia - A Philadelphia TV station reported that it found at least three instances in which votes appeared to have been cast in recent elections under the names of dead people, but the city's Republican election commissioner said it didn't represent intentional fraud.

WPVI-TV dug through a decade's worth of election and death records in the overwhelmingly Democratic city.

Al Schmidt, a GOP election commissioner, said the station brought 20 cases to his attention. His office investigated and found three types of error: Some voters were alive and mistakenly listed on death rolls; some had the same or similar names to dead people in their voting precinct and erroneously signed in the wrong space at the polls, or poll workers accidently scanned the wrong barcode on the voter rolls.

In each case, the person voting did so only once, he said.

"There is no voter fraud in these cases," he said.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly warned of a "rigged" election, saying large-scale voter fraud is happening in the US There is no evidence that such widespread fraud exists.

He's singled out Philadelphia as a city to watch and has specifically raised concerns about votes made by dead people.

‘Dead’ woman voted in 3 elections

One of the three individuals cited by the TV station was a woman who died in 2006 but was recorded as having cast ballots in 2008, 2012, 2014 and this year.

Schmidt said his office found that a woman with the same name and different middle initial signed in the dead woman's spot. There was no additional vote cast, it was one vote cast by one eligible voter, he said.

Experts say cases of voter fraud involving dead people are isolated. They also say it would be an inefficient way to rig a presidential election, given that the fraud would have to be conducted one voter at a time and would be effective only in places where the race is close enough that the outcome could be swayed.

There are more than 9 000 election jurisdictions nationwide and hundreds of thousands of polling places.

Earlier this month, Schmidt dismissed the idea that vote rigging could take place in the nation's fifth-largest city.

He said election fraud does happen from time to time and his office vigorously prosecutes offenders.

"The real threat to the integrity of elections is irresponsible accusations that undermine confidence in the electoral process," he said.

Read more on:    us  |  us elections 2016

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