Public Interest Legal Foundation Identifies 349,773 Dead People on Voter Rolls Nationwide

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

The Democrats are pushing mail-in voting despite all the apparent problems in changing our election processes on short notice. One of the most significant risks is inaccurate voter rolls. Public Interest Legal Foundation conducted a nationwide study and identified 349,773 deceased people on the voter rolls. This problem is only one category of inaccuracy that can lead to fraud in the Democrats’ preferred process. They also found duplicate votes cast in both 2016 and 2018.


Mail-in voting is a push process that differs significantly from absentee balloting. Mail-in voting sends a ballot to any registered voter on the state’s voter rolls. While clean-up efforts have been pursued in many states, mostly by voter integrity groups, voter rolls are far from perfect.

By contrast, absentee voting requires the registered voter to request a ballot. This requirement ensures the ballot is sent to the correct address, and generally, there are other security measures in place. Despite this fact, between 2012 and 2018, it is estimated that 20% of mail-in votes were not counted. While several states, Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii, have adopted mail-in voting as their formal process, absentee ballots also go missing.

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Pew Research analyzed voter rolls in 2012 and found one in eight voter registrations were inaccurate. Hardly a partisan player, Pew is well respected by most commentators. Their primary findings were:

  • At least 51 million eligible citizens remain unregistered—more than 24 percent of the eligible population.
  • Nearly 2 million deceased individuals are listed as voters.
  • Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.
  • About 12 million records have incorrect addresses, meaning either the voters moved, or errors in the information make it unlikely any mailings can reach them.

This research did motivate voter integrity groups, and the voter rolls are better now. However, it is far from perfect. When we consider President Trump won based on about 80,000 votes cast in three states, significant errors in the voter rolls should concern everyone who cares about election integrity. Especially in a contentious election where the left predicts “violence in the streets” if they don’t like the outcome.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation study looked at 41 states, and the group is in legal proceedings with several others that refused to participate. The key findings are:

  • Deceased registrants – 349,773
    • 7,890 were credited with voting after death in 2016
    • 6,718 were credited with voting after death in 2018
  • Duplicate registrants who cast second votes in 2016 – 43,760
  • Duplicate registrants who cast second votes in 2018 – 37,889
  • Number of registrants voting from a non-residential address – 34,000
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New York, Texas, Florida, Michigan, and California make up 51% of deceased registrants. North Carolina has the largest proportion of dead people found voting by a ratio of 4:1. In 2018, 2172 deceased registrants were discovered voting in the state. With a closely contested Senate race, this is a problem.


It appears that of these states, California is the only one that is pushing out ballots. California is also the only one where ballot harvesting is legal, meaning anyone can collect and deliver them to the polling place. Their voter rolls are primarily a concern for local and statewide races in this situation. Senate and House of Representatives elections are included in this group.

One of the most worrying conclusions is duplicate intrastate votes. This category means a single person voting twice within the same state, which could affect state and local races and the presidential race.

Public Interest
Screen shot from Public Interest Legal Foundation study.

On the upside, this pretty much kills Stacey Abrams’ voter disenfranchisement narrative. Georgia doesn’t even disenfranchise the same person voting twice. The downside is two of the top three states are considered swing states. In 2016, President Trump won Michigan by 10,704 votes. In that election, 7,140 people voted twice, and 68% of the time it was done with mail-in ballots.

It is noteworthy that Illinois refused to participate in the study, given the state and the city of Chicago are often the butt of jokes about dead voters. However, the analysis is cause for concern in other states looking ahead to a tightly contested election.


Based on these numbers, the fewer changes made to our election process, the better at this point. And if you want to make sure your vote counts, vote in person.

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