Columbia, SC (January 25, 2012) - S.C. State Election Commission Executive Director Marci Andino testified today before the House Election Laws Subcommittee on recent claims that more than 900 votes had been cast in the name of dead voters.
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.
With the presidential primary looming on January 21, the SEC was compelled to find out if any of the 37,000 voters identified by DMV as deceased had requested absentee ballots for the primary. This research found 10 voters in 8 different counties applied for absentee ballots. 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.
"Charges of voter fraud are serious," Andino said. "If even one fraudulent vote has been cast, that is one too many; and we hope that the Attorney General and SLED will investigate any instances of voter fraud and prosecute the offenders to the fullest extent allowed by law. We stand ready to assist in those efforts."