2020 Election

Election Watchdog Finds 350,000 Dead Registrants on Voter Rolls In 42 States

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An election watchdog has found that there may be as many as 350,000 dead individuals on voter rolls across 42 states.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), an Indiana-based election integrity group, conducted a nationwide study to identify the hundreds of thousands of deceased individuals on voter rolls. During its analysis, the group also found that nearly 40,000 likely duplicate registrants "appear to have cast second votes in 2018 from the same address."

Just five states—New York, Texas, Michigan, Florida, and California—accounted for 51 percent of the total number of deceased individuals on voter rolls, according to the group. PILF further found that nearly 15,000 registrants were credited with voting after death in the 2016 and 2018 elections.

"Our voter rolls have not, and will not be ready for a mail-focused election this November," said Logan Churchwell, communications director for PILF. "State court decisions in swing states allowing for relaxed deadlines, signature verification, and harvesting now sit on a foundation of bad voter data."

"In Pennsylvania, your mis-delivered ballot to the hands of a bad actor will now have extra time to get turned in and not face the traditional standards for signature verification," Churchwell said. "The only way to absolutely avoid this nightmare is to vote in person."

The analysis comes as states across the country prepare to handle a surge of mail-in voting for the November elections. Numerous problems plagued mail-in voting during the primary elections this year. Nevada's largest county sent out more than 200,000 mail-in primary ballots to the wrong addresses, while reports also indicated that 84,000 mail-in presidential primary ballots cast in New York City were disqualified.

The push for mail-in voting has led to a massive influx of cash from wealthy donors. More than $100 million has been poured into efforts both supporting and opposing the practice.

A network of liberal groups, including George Soros's Open Society Foundations and the Ford Foundation, has donated more than $50 million in support of mail-in voting. These efforts have primarily been geared toward battleground states including Michigan, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, and Arizona, NBC News previously reported.

"The pandemic has created a state of emergency," Laleh Ispahani, managing director for the Open Society Foundations, told the Associated Press. "Donors who haven’t typically taken on these issues now have an interest."