State's chief election official demolishes claims by state AG…

-By Brad Freidman

January 30, 2012- To paraphrase Mark Twain's famous remark in 1897, reports of 953 "dead people" having voted in recent South Carolina elections appear to be greatly exaggerated. Who could have guessed it?

Following quickly on the heels of Rightwing hoaxster James O'Keefe's successful felonious conspiracy to commit voter fraud during the New Hampshire primary this year, by receiving ballots in the name of very recently deceased voters (resulting in a Republican call for his "arrest and prosecution" in the Granite State) and the U.S. Dept. of Justice's rejection of a new South Carolina law attempting to keep registered voters from voting at the polling place unless they are able to present a state-issued Photo ID, on the basis that the state's own evidence reveals the law to be both illegal and discriminatory, the SC Attorney General pushed back by claiming that a state DMV analysis had discovered some 953 votes had been cast by "dead people" in recent elections there.

Funny thing though. Upon closer examination, as is almost always the case in these matters, those 953 "dead voters" may not be so "dead" after all. That, according to SC State Election Commission (SEC) Executive Director Marci Andino who both testified [PDF] and released a statement on the matter last week.

According to both her statement and testimony to the SC House Election Laws Subcommittee, Andino, the state's chief election official, said:

While the SEC has not yet been provided with all the information on which the claims are being made, the Attorney General's office has provided a small sample – six names from Abbeville County. A review of the voter registration lists and signatures on the poll lists from the elections in question revealed that of these six:

  • One was an absentee ballot cast by a voter who then died before election day;
  • Another was the result of an error by a poll worker who mistakenly marked the voter as Samuel Ferguson, Jr. when the voter was in fact Samuel Ferguson, III;
  • Two were the result of stray marks on the voter registration list detected by the scanner – again, a clerical error;
  • The final two were the result of poll managers incorrectly marking the name of the voter in question instead of the voter listed either above or below on the list.

Zounds! Who could have guessed that Republican claims of hordes of zombies voting in South Carolina's elections — as first publicized in a short, evidence-free AP article trumpeted at Fox "News" — were, um, "greatly exaggerated"?!

And that's not the only specious claim by the AG's office that Andino dismantled during her testimony last week…

After a DMV analysis, according to the AG, found that some 37,000 "deceased" voters remained on the voter rolls in SC, Andino says her office was "compelled to find out if any" of them "had requested absentee ballots for the [January 21, statewide GOP] primary."

"This research found 10 voters in 8 different counties applied for absentee ballots," she explains. "The SEC immediately asked local election officials to provide us with copies of the voter registration and absentee applications signed by these voters. In every case, the signatures on these forms were matched, and each of these ten voters was confirmed to be alive."

As usual, most of these hyberbolic claims from Republicans turn out to be little more than clerical book-keeping errors. Even in the case of fake journalist O'Keefe, the federal criminal who had to create phony instances of voter fraud on camera in order to prove, somehow, that it could exist, one of those on his list of supposedly "dead voters" for whom his fellow conspirators attempted to vote was, in fact, very much alive.

Andino's testimony was made available last Wednesday, January 25th. Fox "News" initially ran AP's short story on "953 dead voters" on January 21st, the day of the South Carolina Primary, based on a letter from the AG dated two days earlier on January 19th. Today is January 30th, some nine days after Fox first publicized the misleading, or at least, evidence-free, claim by the State Attorney General's office. The fake "news" organization has yet to run a follow-up story with the information from Andino, the state's chief election official, disputing what appears to be the so-far baseless claim had previously trumpeted.

What a shocker.



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