The excuse the Republicans have been using to enact all their voter suppression laws across the country has been the prevention of voter fraud that has been running rampant. Especially in states with large blocs of minority voters. Just a coincidence, I’m sure.
One of those states is South Carolina where the attorney general was so sure that hundreds of fraudulent votes were cast (in spite of the fact that Mitt Romney won the state handily) that he launched an investigation to see just how many people rose from the dead to vote.
South Carolina never found a single dead voter in recent elections. At least, that is the final word from the State Election Commission investigation into whether 900 people voted using a dead person’s name, according to the Columbia Free Times.
The report found that whatever issues existed were usually due to human error, like a clerical mistake or scanning problem, and not because anyone intentionally impersonated a deceased person. For example, hundreds of errors were due to mistakes like confusing a father and son who share the same name.
When Attorney General Alan Wilson demanded the original investigation, he cited “an alarming number” of cases reported by the DMV that “clearly necessitates an investigation into criminal activity.” The initial report surveyed 200 “suspicious” names and found nothing, but Wilson insisted “no one in this state should issue any kind of clean bill of health in this matter” until officials “finished with their work.” Republicans, including Wilson, held up the initial claim that the voting rolls were packed with dead voters to argue for a voter ID law. Rep. Alan Clemmons (R) wrote at one point, “It is an unspoken truth in South Carolina that election fraud exists.”
Well, now the spoken truth is that it doesn’t. Clerical errors and typos, yes, but no intent to defraud.
Of course that doesn’t mean that the GOP won’t redouble their efforts to make it nearly impossible for someone who doesn’t drive (no driver’s license), doesn’t travel (no passport) or who lives a long distance from a DMV office — which usually means poor people — to vote. That’s what they had in mind the entire time.