What’s the Difference Between some South Carolina Voters and Monty Python’s Parrot?

February 2, 2012 by  
Filed under Fair Elections, Recent Blog Posts

Zombies Word LogoWhat’s the difference between some South Carolina voters and Monty Python’s Parrot? The parrot is dead.

Not a very good joke but it serves its purpose.  Andrew Rosenthal of the NY Times and Think Progress have more. From Mr. Rosenthal:

“…although South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has still not disclosed the identities of all 900 walking-dead, he has provided six names—and it turns out there’s nary a case of grave-digging identity theft.

The State Election Commission reviewed the names, and found the following (this is a direct quotation from their site)

  • 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.

And from Think Progress:

Though Fox News ran multiple segments hyping the allegations that dead people had tainted South Carolina’s elections, a preliminary review shows that the cable station has yet to report on the State Election Commission’s review debunking Wilson’s charge.

In many ways, this is the major problem: “dead voter” claims are sexy, getting reported far and wide nearly every election. Yet when the allegations are inevitably shown to be false, far fewer news outlets follow up. As a result, many people never learn that dead voters didn’t taint South Carolina’s recent elections.

Every few years, officials undertake the same Scooby Doo-routine, claiming to have uncovered damning evidence of dead voters, only to ultimately conclude that simpler explanations account for the inconsistencies. Just like Maryland and California in 1994, Georgia in 1998, or New Hampshire in 2004, South Carolina is the latest state to put on the “dead voter” Kabuki performance.

So before you try and justify the excessive photo ID to vote restrictions with “OHMYGOD900DEADPEOPLEVOTEDINSOUTHCAROLINA!,” you might want to understand what really happened.

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