There goes the Senate GOP, picking on dead people…

Wesley and the gang at the Senate Republican Caucus are making sure that you didn’t miss this story:

DMV: 900 Dead People May Have Voted

Columbia, SC (AP, WLTX) — The director of South Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles has told the State Law Enforcement Division that more than 900 people who were recorded as having voted were actually dead.

DMV Director Kevin Shwedo told legislators about the issue Wednesday as the U.S. Justice Department questions a new state law requiring people to show photographic identification when they vote in person.

In response, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson asked SLED to review the evidence.

“Director Shwedo’s research has revealed evidence that over nine hundred deceased people appear to have ‘voted’ in recent elections in South Carolina,” said Wilson in a statement. “This is an alarming number, and clearly necessitates an investigation into potential criminal activity. I have asked SLED Chief Keel to review Director Shwedo’s research.”…

First, of all, technically, the dead people didn’t actually vote. So they are innocent in this.

So I am shocked that the GOP senators are using this unfortunate incident to insist that their Voter ID law be reinstated. I mean, think about it — these dead people didn’t do anything wrong, and the senators want to penalize them. Do you have any idea how much harder it is for a dead person to get a picture ID than it is for you and me? I mean, have a heart…

31 thoughts on “There goes the Senate GOP, picking on dead people…

  1. Silence

    Gov. Haley will personally drive each of them to the DMV to get their taxpayer-funded picture identification. I don’t think it will be too much of an inconvenience for them. Of course each one of them should have a death certificate already that firmly establishes their identification…

  2. Juan Caruso

    Brad, our legislature should avoid the spread of even greater voting abuses by those voting in the names of dead, nonresident, fictitious or otherwise purloined identities.

    I propose that related penalties be stiffened to fit the actual crime:

    Anyone who engages in such dastardly acts against the electorate should automatically lose voting privileges for a minimum of 6 years on the first offense, and become a convicted felon upon the next (no more voting ever).

    Anyone who facilitates through training, organization, or attempts to hide the existence of corrupt voting practices or schemes to register multiple illicit voters would automatically lose his/her privileges of voting and holding any publicly appointed or elected offices in SC for life.

  3. Steven Davis

    Come on Brad, did they put codeine in your inhaler and you gave yourself a double-shot this morning? We all know you’re trying to be funny, but there’s a fine line between dumb and funny.

    If a picture ID were required, it’d be awful hard to pass as your now dead mother or father. And people still refuse to see the reasoning behind requiring a picture ID.

  4. bud

    It’s fascinating to see how much attention is paid to this rather minor issue. 900 voters is nothing. When you have a man become president in spite of losing the popular vote by over 1/2 million these unimportant side issues seem trivial.

  5. lafollette

    Is there a pissing contest going on between the DMV and the Election Commission as to who has the most extensive and accurate database?

    I wonder if the Election Commission would have the same analysis.

  6. Steve Gordy

    What I’d like to know is how many elections those figures cover. Was it one election or several?

  7. `Kathryn Fenner

    It’s not a “picture ID”–it’s a DMV issued ID or a Passport, no other will do.

    There’s no evidence that any of the dead people voted. What The State article made very clear was that these were the only leftovers from the much greater number cited by Marci Andino—which included people who just moved away, and never tried to come back to vote here, just remained on the voting rolls, for one.

  8. SusanG

    I’ve been looking at data from government agencies on and off for 20 years. (I know I’m probably not the only one on the blog that can say that). I’ll be very surprise if once the data is looked at there’s much of an issue. They found problems with .4% of their data? The articles linked to are very unclear, so it’s hard even to get an idea of what they’re talking about. How many elections was the data for? Over how much time? So sure, research the problem(s). Try and clean up the data. But voter fraud that’s worth the expense of the voter id bill? I doubt it.

  9. Steven Davis

    “It’s not a “picture ID”–it’s a DMV issued ID or a Passport, no other will do.”

    Whatever, you know what I meant. Do you correct peoples grammar when they speak too?

  10. Juan Caruso

    “There’s no evidence that any of the dead people voted.” -KF

    The problem has been there has been no assured trail of who actually voted in the names of the deceased. Perhaps we should all just listen to Democrats and those telling us there is no significant problem and assume there never would be:

    “900 voters is nothing.” -bud


  11. Bart

    Voter fraud may not be taking place in South Carolina and the 900 could be paperwork oversights or common errors. However, this statement is beyond belief when one considers elections, not necessarily at the presidential, senatorial, or house level have been decided by 1 or 2 votes.

    “It’s fascinating to see how much attention is paid to this rather minor issue. 900 voters is nothing.” bud.

    No one should ever be denied their right to vote but there is nothing wrong with asking for identification to exercise the right to vote. It does no good to revisit all of the arguments again because no one will change their mind on the issue. But to suggest “it is nothing” is totally irresponsible.

  12. Mark Stewart

    But still; this falls more in the corner of statistics.

    I do get very suspicious when people start touting intermediate steps; this “disclosure” would seem to fit cleanly in that catagory. If there is a record of actual voter fraud, then that would certainly be worth knowing and publicizing. Internal departmental disagreements / political posturings? Not so much…

  13. Michael Rodgers

    Now instead of talking about the specifics of South Carolina’s voter ID law and real ways to improve our elections, we’re talking about something… that bud said. Thanks, bud.

  14. bud

    Sorry but this really isn’t a big deal. It’s extremely unlikely that 900 dead people actually cast votes. It’s also extraordinarlily unlikely that even if true the 900 votes made a difference. Are we talking about a presidential election? If so it is completely irrelevanat and hardly worth any mention. Given the existence of the electoral college South Carolina is utterly irrelevant in presidential elections. So I stand by my first comment. If you want to discuss something that really matters then we can discuss the electoral college.

  15. Bart

    No one ever said 900 dead people actually cast votes. If even one vote was cast in the name of a dead person, it perverts the process just as voter intimidation or repression does.

    And I stand by my words that the comment was irresponsible. It makes no difference at what level voter fraud takes place, fraud is still fraud and it still matters. No matter if the guilty are Republican or Democrat supporters.

    Voting is a right and as such, it should be protected for ALL citizens, no exceptions. If requiring a photo ID is one step in protecting the right to vote, who is to argue against it?

    If one wants to insure there is no doubt about the legitimacy of their vote, then a photo ID can guarantee it and drown out the voices of those who would like to repress the vote of one bloc or another. Don’t give your enemy ammunition to use against you. Instead, use it to your advantage. If the “racists” want to suppress the vote and you believe a requirement to obtain a photo ID is one way of doing it, defeat their tactic; get a photo Id and VOTE.

    Remember one point never discussed during the accusations of racism and purposeful repression of the black vote by requiring a photo ID to vote. How many white voters do not have a photo ID and even if it imposes a hardship on them, are they not just as important as the black voters?

    When the offer was made to provide transportation to anyone who needed to obtain a photo ID recently, only 25 actually took advantage of the offer. Out of over 80,000 who had no photo ID, only 25 responded? Now, you tell me who is not interested in protecting one of our most valuable rights?

    “If you want to discuss something that really matters then we can discuss the electoral college.”…bud

    I guess this clarifies priorities. Just because you and others have a bitch about the Electoral College doesn’t change the issue one iota.

  16. bud

    This is sort of like discussing whether there is liquid water underneath the surface of Jupiter’s moon Io. It’s fascinating for sure but of utterly no consequence whatsover. The big issues are: (1) Voter suppression (2) Electronic voting machines without a paper trail and (3) the electoral college.

  17. `Kathryn Fenner

    @ Bart–A disproportionate number of older black voters lack proper documentation because back when they were born, Jim Crow kept their mothers out of hospitals either legally or because their families had such poor jobs that they could not afford to be born in a hospital. Hence no birth certificate was issued, and since they lived in the country, where everybody knew everybody, it hasn’t been a problem up to now.

  18. martin

    The story doesn’t say what elections these 900 people voted in. Statewide, county, city?

    A very few votes could make a very big difference in certain municipal elections where voter turnout is so small. I would not find it inconceivable that there are certain districts in this state where “dead” people voting might be commonplace. We live in a corrupt political world.

    The numbers that have come out on this issue at every step of the way have been sorely lacking in details, such as the time frame of the elections referred to. Not to mention people not realizing for months that they included people who had left the state or were dead. Someone regurgitates some numbers, but doesn’t appear to bother to try to figure out what they really mean.

    I worry much more about absentee voting based on their amazing proliferation in races in my city. When you have a particular candidate running for mayor in a small town of less than 5000 residents, not voters, and all of a sudden absentee ballots of nearly 1000 start popping up for him, something is very wrong.

    I don’t trust any machine that has no paper record.

  19. bud

    Martin is exactly right, the voting machines are a much more important issue. Why does this not garner more attention from the press and the punditocracy in general? Instead we focus on some vague allegation that maybe a few dead people found a way to vote. Until we learn more I remain highly skeptical that this is anything more than a well orchestrated diversion away from voting issues of real importance.

  20. Steven Davis

    “Hence no birth certificate was issued, and since they lived in the country, where everybody knew everybody, it hasn’t been a problem up to now.”

    How did they get to town? The bus system doesn’t go out that far.

  21. Doug Ross


    I’ve asked this before. Can you please point me to anything in print which identifies a single voter without an id who cannot obtain one? I want to read the story about how this person exists in today’s society. I also want to know when the last time that person voted.

  22. Doug Ross

    Still waiting for the name of one person who would be impacted by showing an official id to vote. Where are they? Did they vote this past weekend?

  23. SusanG


    I believe The State ran an article a month or so ago that identified a person — but I’m not going to go looking for it for you. I was not trying to argue for or against voter ID — my point was that the “dead voters” issue is probably just a data issue and not an instance of voter fraud, and thus not an argument for voter ID.

  24. Doug Ross


    I actually had addressed the question of identifying a single person who would be impacted by the id bill to Kathryn 10 days ago in the post before yours. So I wasn’t asking for you to do that… sorry for the confusion.

  25. Tim

    your argument amounts to “there is no problem, so let’s pass a law just to make sure”. What happened to that libertarian? One more strike and they may throw you out of the club.

  26. Doug Ross

    And here’s something I just realized – if we want every American to be mandated to have health insurance, how would we identify those people who don’t have it without some type of id card?

    Wouldn’t you have to show an id to get treated?

  27. Burl Burlingame

    Larger issue: What happens when your state DMV identifies you as “dead” when you ain’t?

    I work the polls during elections in Hawaii. We always asked for some sort of identification, and this is checked against registered-voter rolls. Poll workers here aren’t assigned to work where they live, so there’s no “neighbor” favoritism. We used electronic voting devices, but they keep a paper-trail printout in case a voter wishes to challenge or post-examine their ballot. This is not rocket science, it’s just a kind of accounting.

    There are people deliberately trying to scare citizens about voter fraud. There are secret voters under your bed!

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