Checks, balances in place if deceased person gets absentee voter registration materials in mail

MATTHEWS, N.C. — Election Day is three months away and because of the pandemic, mail-in ballots and voter fraud have become a hot topic.

Debbie McSwain, of Matthews, said she got an absentee voter registration in the mail for her husband, who died in 2000.

They were married for 30 years.

“I got this in the mail yesterday,” McSwain said. “It is a letter to my husband, who is deceased.”

The letter is from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and in it are all the materials someone would need to register to vote.

“So, then I thought this is just a prime opportunity for voter fraud,” she said. “I could fill it out and sign his name, send it in. He would go back on the books and then somebody could go vote for him.”

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Channel 9 contacted the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee about the mistake but didn’t get a clear reason how it happened.

A spokesperson stated that their flier in the letter said that citizens may only apply if they are eligible to register, and it is irresponsible to suggest that efforts to make sure eligible voters can cast their ballots are fraudulent.

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The head of the Mecklenburg County Board of Elections, Michael Dickerson, said a variety of groups mail voter registration forms, not just the Democratic and Republican parties.

Dickerson said there is a system of checks and balances in place. So, if an outside group, such as the DSCC, sends a letter to a deceased person or someone who is not eligible, that mistake will be caught before any harm can be done.

“We remove the people we are supposed to remove, death notices, felony convictions,” Dickerson said.

When it comes to those who are deceased, the state backstops every board.

“So, we get a list of people who have passed away, whose last address was Mecklenburg County and that comes from the Department of Health and Human Services in Raleigh,” Dickerson said. “And it’s fed through our state system that all 100 counties have and the state says, ‘These are the ones from Mecklenburg County you need to go through and remove them.’”

McSwain said her husband was very patriotic and would have been furious at the thought that someone could have fraudulently used his vote.

“I find it hard to believe after 20 years that it was a mistake,” she said.