Among Election Day activities in Chicago, perhaps none are more storied than the traditional resurrections that allow the dead to vote.  As it turns out, Minnesota may have adopted that tradition in the last election.  Minnesota Majority’s Dan McGrath claims that a survey of voter records show that as many as 2800 dead people managed to make their way to the polls and cast votes (via Yid with Lid):

Today, Minnesota Majority announced the discovery of individuals who were deceased prior to November 4, 2008, yet have voter history records on the secretary of state’s files that indicate they voted in the 2008 General Election.

Minnesota Majority employed a data enhancement service to flag potentially deceased individuals on Minnesota’s voter registration file. Over 2,800 individuals who voted in the 2008 general election were flagged as being “deceased” prior to the election. Minnesota Majority then selected a sample of a dozen records for additional investigation. A representative drove to addresses listed on voter registration records. Interviews conducted with residents or neighbors confirmed that at least 5 individuals from the sample were deceased, the latest having died in March 2007.

Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann said that the records of the 5 dead voters were erroneously updated with a vote history by election workers and were not examples of fraud.

The Secretary of State has the responsibility to cull deceased voters from the rolls.  The Department of Health issues a monthly report of Minnesotans who have died, which the SoS office uses to remove them from voter-registration lists.  Why is this important? If the state did not quickly eliminate the deceased from the rolls, others could use their identities to cast multiple votes, usually through absentee ballots, in order to dilute the legitimate votes of other Minnesotans and throw an election through fraud.

As the oft-told stories of Chicago demonstrate, it doesn’t take long to lose a reputation for clean elections, and it takes a very long time to lose a reputation for incompetence and fraud.

Jeff Davis, the president of Minnesota Majority, claims in the same article that he submitted evidence three weeks before the election to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie of the dead voters still on the rolls.  Apparently, neither Ritchie nor his office took the warning seriously.  Their explanation of an “erroneous update” of voter history makes little sense, either.  Why would the SoS office update a record if the person didn’t actually cast a ballot?  Would that kind of error happen 2800 times?

Ritchie has thus far been a disaster as Secretary of State.  He botched the recount by surrendering his role in enforcing the law on absentee ballots, instead allowing the two campaigns to set ad hoc standards of acceptance.  Now it appears that he can’t handle the basic database maintenance needed to ensure fair elections.  The state needs to conduct an independent investigation into the dead vote, unless we want to replace Chicago as the butt of the jokes.

Tags: Minnesota