MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

June 7, 2009

A few dead did vote


A few instances of voter fraud, if proved in a close election, could raise suspicions about that election’s authenticity.

Of course, we know that mistakes sometimes occur and fraud is possible with anything. However, Oklahoma should limit mistakes and fraud as much as possible, and apparently, that’s true when it comes to people fraudulently using a dead person’s name to vote.

A state paper recently looked at elections the past five years, comparing them to the state’s database of deaths. It found that since 2004, only as many as 10 Oklahomans voted after dying.

No one can explain what happened except in two of those cases. In those two instances, physically incapacitated people cast absentee ballots, then died just prior to the elections and the counting of ballots.

We would hope that all voters were as dedicated as those two individuals, who despite their illnesses still wanted to cast ballots.

But Oklahoma must be doing some things right because the number of questionable votes cast with dead persons’ names is very low, which can be looked at two ways.

Some will say identification at the polling stations is not necessary because, as this study shows, fraud using dead people’s names does not occur frequently.

However, the opposite can be true as well. If a close election occurs, and even a few questionable votes are cast, the whole election would be suspect.

A state question will appear on the ballot in 2010, which if passed would require voters to present photo identification or a free voter ID card issued by a county election board. We think it’s a good idea, again, because we should conduct elections that are as accountable and accurate as possible.