Many on the right, including a number of prominent Republicans, are claiming that thousands of dead people voted in the 2020 election, using the claim to support the idea that Democrats have stolen the election from President Trump.
But a CNN investigation concluded that dead people did not vote en masse during the election. In fact, the news outlet did not find a single instance of such fraud.
CNN examined 50 of the more than 14,000 names on the list by taking the first 25 names on the list and then 25 more picked at random. We ran the names through Michigan’s Voter Information database to see if they requested or returned a ballot. We then checked the names against publicly available records to see if they were indeed dead.
Of the 50, 37 were indeed dead and had not voted, according to the voter information database. Five people out of the 50 had voted — and they are all still alive, according to public records accessed by CNN. The remaining eight are also alive but didn’t vote.
The sample CNN reviewed is not representative, but the trend was clear — not a single one of the names examined was of a dead person voting.
CNN noted that the claim gained traction after videos popped up on social media purporting to show that dead people had cast ballots in Michigan.
While it did appear in the videos that deceased people had voted, CNN explained why such a situation might occur.
Clerical errors, database quirks, and genuinely long-living individuals can sometimes explain why it looks like people are casting ballots from beyond the grave.
Occasionally living voters submit ballots with incorrect birth years that make it appear as if they’re actually deceased, according to [Tracy Wimmer, the director of media relations for Michigan’s Secretary of State]. “In such scenarios, no one ineligible has actually voted,” she said.
Detroit’s Director of Elections, George Azzouz explained to CNN that “the date of January 1, 1900 is often used in the electronic poll book as a temporary placeholder for absentee ballots arriving just before Election Day.”
Impersonating a deceased person to cast a ballot is nearly impossible, according to the Michigan Secretary of State’s office.
“In the unlikely event that someone who was alive and had their identity verified when they requested a ballot died before receiving it, and someone else attempted to vote as them, the signature mismatch/deceased flag in the [Qualified Voter File] would once again flag it for rejection,” Wimmer explained.
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