Does S.C. have ‘zombie voters’?Published 10:28am Friday, July 26, 2013
Like many states with Republican majorities in state legislatures, South Carolina passed new voter identification restrictions in 2012 prior to the presidential election.
The essence of the South Carolina law, as articulated by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson stated “…it was written to protect citizens from fraudulent activity in the electoral process. It is important that the voters of our state have faith in the process by which we elect our leaders. So that was its original intent.” (Fox News Jan. 12, 2012, Lou Dobbs).
Wilson specifically cited a significant number of examples of zombie voters “… we found out that there were over 900 people who died and then subsequently voted. That number could be even higher than that…”
Well who would not support this effort to stem the flood of fake voters attempting to influence the outcome of elections?
Dead people voting has always been held up Chicago 1960 politics as the gold standard of such corruption, but almost a thousand fake votes in South Carolina in one election? Maybe South Carolina was too slow in passing more restrictive laws.
Now there are critics of the South Carolina law who argue that the state is solving a problem that does not exist, or that some minority voters will be negatively impacted by the ID requirements.
State Attorney General addressed both concerns on Fox news programs focused upon voter polling fraud. Wilson noted that the law would, in his words, have only a “minimal effect” upon elderly voters and minorities.
On the issue of naming the problem, the 900 plus zombie voters, cited with absolute certainty by the states’ highest legal official, made that rationale perfectly clear.
And yet, this week U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will investigate the efficacy of several states’ newly restrictive voter laws, including South Carolina, a state previously named as covered by the Voting Rights Act and now free to make revisions following a Supreme Court ruling this year.
The problem is the claims of dead people voting in South Carolina are not exactly truthful as presented by Attorney General Wilson on Fox News.
The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) conducted a 13-month review of voter fraud, a 476-page report that was only released after a Freedom of Information Act request.
As it turns out, the specific claim of 953 votes placed by dead people was not in any one year, but over a seven-year period including 74 elections.
Further, only a handful of votes remain in question after identifying clerical errors or cases of mistaken identities.
In 97 cases a son had the same name as a deceased father and poll workers mixed up the dead father with the living son.
In 56 cases there were data matching errors where the DMV mismatched birth dates and names with voter records.
There were several other clerical errors cited in the lengthy report, a report that concluded only five votes remained unresolved after investigation.
So why would South Carolina still wish to change voting requirements that would admittedly have a “minimal” negative effect upon elderly and minority votes with no benefit to reduce voting fraud, a problem that factually the state does not have in evidence?
Would not every state want more citizens voting, even if only minimal reductions could occur by changing requirements?
Apparently, several states, all oddly in Republican government, do not seek more but fewer voters. Why would that be the case?
Could it be that some Republican leaders have noted that in presidential years, when voter turnout is highest, Republicans fare more poorly in elections? Consequently, lower voter turnout, particularly among voters who are not likely Republican voters, is, dare it be said, a good thing for Republicans?
Facts matter and states making voting more difficult have only one set of facts: They benefit by denying some voters the right to vote.
Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.