I-Team: Deceased Voters on the Tri-State Rolls

More than 200 people, many of whom have been dead for years, are still registered to vote in the tri-state and votes have even been cast in their names, NBC 4 New York's I-Team discovered in an analysis of records.

Of the more than 15 million people registered to vote in the tri-state area, however, the “deceased voters” amounted to the tiniest fraction of eligible voters – less than four-thousandths of one percent. Experts say most errors like this are simply clerical mistakes, and are not enough to affect a national election or to justify concerns of widespread fraud, explains Larry Norden, a law professor at NYU and deputy director of the Brennan Center for Justice.

“When the Bush administration examined this, when groups like the Brennan Center have examined this, more often than not it’s [a clerical error or data entry error], rather than somebody committing a crime,” said Norden.

In fact, he says, there have been very few verified claims of in-person voter fraud in the last 20 years.

“Exceptionally, exceptionally, exceptionally rare, and when I say exceptionally, I mean struck-by-lightning rare,” said Norden.

Still, the I-Team found that dozens of voters in the tri-state currently registered for the upcoming election have been dead for years, and in some cases, more than a decade.

“I was surprised, certainly, in this day of technology where computers can keep track of these things,” said Corrine Vitale-Quinn, who received in her mailbox last month an absentee ballot for her late husband, John.

John has been dead for more than a year, but his name was listed as an active registered voter with the state of New York.

And he’s not alone.

Lucia Batista died in May 2000, but state records show she voted in a 2006 primary.

Her family told the I-Team they have no idea how that happened and verified she has been dead for more than a decade.

The secretary of the New York City Board of Elections, Fred Umane, told the I-Team that there is a presumption of validity for voter registrations and there is a system where the board would go through and delete dead people from the rolls, but recently there have been some issues with that system.

Still, he says, in the grand scheme of election issues, the problem is miniscule.

The I-Team has provided all the names and associated information of “deceased voters” to election officials for further review.

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