Elections board: 10,000 deceased voters to be removed from voter rolls

Posted at 12:41 PM, Aug 09, 2012
and last updated 2012-08-09 18:30:48-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) - The State Board of Elections (SBE) is working to remove 10,000 deceased persons' names from the commonwealth's list of registered voters.

Officials said Thursday the board has completed a data-comparison between the Social Security Administration's Death Master File and the state's current registered voters. Local general registrars are working to remove the names from their lists.

Additionally, the board said it has only compared 15 million of the 60 million records from the master death file. Officials are working to finish the rest to find more matches.

Officials report some of the deceased died as far back as the 1980s, but their names remained as registered voters.

"When we went back and looked at it more in depth, we identified about 10,000 deceased registered voters," said Donald Palmer of the State Board of Elections.

The board said it does conduct periodic searches of their death files, but recently they undertook a more detailed review going back years. When they did, they found that their files were indeed in need of an update.

"With an upcoming general election we want to make sure that the lists are as clear as can be," said Palmer

Virginia voter Dick Holmcomb said he is not entirely surprised at the finding. He claims his father passed away years ago in Florida and he is still getting mail from political entities on his father's behalf.

"I'm currently still receiving correspondence from the Republican party of which he was a member," said Holmcomb.

The SBE admits the process of updating the records isn't airtight and said it's hard for their systems to keep up with Virginians who move to other states and pass away there. But they said removing the names will help close a window to fraud.

"Someone may want to impersonate that person and vote for a deceased person so we take it seriously," said Palmer.

The SBE also said all of the names will be removed by the November elections.