6,100 dead people on Nassau voter rolls, Newsday analysis finds - Newsday - Liar Liar!
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6,100 dead people on Nassau voter rolls, Newsday analysis finds - Newsday

Evelyn E. Burwell's family was surprised to learn she voted in the 2012 general and primary elections. They knew she was an avid voter, but she's been dead since 1997.

Burwell is one of about 6,100 deceased people still registered to vote in Nassau County, a Newsday computer analysis shows. The former Wantagh resident, who died at age 74, is also among roughly 270 people that records show voted in Nassau County after dying, a group that includes a man who voted 14 times since his death.

Newsday's analysis of voter registration and U.S. Social Security Administration death records found more deceased registered voters in Nassau County than any other New York county, accounting for nearly a quarter of the 26,500 on the rolls statewide. Suffolk County has about 2,490 deceased people registered to vote, with roughly 50 listed as voting after their death.


RESULTS: Votes totals in all races
DATA: Contributions in Nassau Executive race | Contributions in NYC Mayor's race | See how LI reps voted on issues | Contributions to local GOP in Nassau
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The votes attributed to the dead are too few, and spread over 20 elections since 2000, to consider them a coordinated fraud attempt. More likely is what investigators in other states have found when examining dead voter records: Clerical errors are to blame, such as a person's vote being assigned to a dead person with a similar name.

But the sloppy condition of the local voter rolls does suggest that election officials are not utilizing all available methods to maintain a clean list. Besides the dead voters, Newsday's analysis also found more than 842,000 registered New York voters who records show haven't cast a ballot in 10 years. Harvard University professor of government Stephen Ansolabehere, an expert on voter list issues, said those registrations are likely not current.

Ansolabehere said bloated voter lists can cause problems other than fraud, as they are used to establish precinct boundaries, communicate with voters, validate voters at the polls and audit election results.

The voter roll "interacts with all aspects of the election system," Ansolabehere said. "That's why it's important to keep lists as good and as current as possible."

John E. Ryan, counsel to Nassau County Republican elections Commissioner Louis Savinetti, said he could not say why so many dead voters remain on Nassau's rolls.

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