One has to give the staff at the South Carolina Election Commission much credit and respect for standing up for truth this week by debunking the lie that some 950 dead people had been voting in South Carolina. Especially when considering the people doing the lying are their bosses.
Governor Nikki Haley, members of her administration, Attorney General Alan Wilson and nearly every other elected Republican official in South Carolina have aggressively been pushing a story that over 950 people in the state have voted in recent years after their deaths. They've been advocating this bogus story to whip up support for "voter ID" legislation that would require voters to have a government issued picture identification card in order to vote, which the U.S. Department of Justice ruled racially discriminatory last December. DOJ made their ruling based on the fact that African Americans are disproportionally more likely not to have government issued ID cards. This is especially true among very old African Americans who were raised during Jim Crow and often don’t even have birth certificates. Currently voters need a photo ID or their voter registration card to vote. Voter registration cards contain a voter's race, age, gender, and physical description.
Further weakening the argument for a Voter ID law was the proponents’ inability to find a single case of someone attempting to vote using another person’s identity. There are no records of that happening in the modern history of South Carolina.
Shortly after the DOJ blocked Voter ID, Governor Haley’s appointed head of the Department of Motor Vehicles announced that he had done some checking and discovered that over 950 deceased people were voting in state elections. The Republican establishment went berserk. Attorney General Wilson went on FOX News and said that the story of 950 dead voters was fact and that Voter ID laws were needed immediately and desperately to restore the integrity of the voting process. And it wasn’t just FOX. The tall tale was reported by national conservative media outlets like the Washington Times and Human Events as a primary reason for Voter ID laws.
South Carolina State House Speaker Bobby Harrell chimed in, as did the Charleston Business Journal. The Charleston Post and Courier wrote an alarming editorial.
Curiously though, the S.C. Election Commission, the state agency responsible for pretty much all election oriented activities and only agency capable of investigating fraudulent voting was left totally in the dark and not even provided a list of the supposed dead voters. All this while the dead voters claim was making national news and going completely unchallenged.
Finally in late January, staff members at the Election Commission were asked to participate in a legislative hearing. Begrudgingly the staffers were given a list of less than 12 of the supposed dead voters to investigate. Almost immediately the staff members were able to conclude that no dead people had voted from that list. What had actually occurred were simple clerical errors and in one case someone dying after they voted absentee.
Only after this hearing was the Election Commission given the full list of "zombie voters."
For weeks the Election Commission staff went through the list to investigate the charges. Yesterday they announced that they couldn’t find any cases of people voting after they died and absolutely no voter fraud. Instead, they found more clerical errors and a few more folks who died after voting absentee.
As a result, our state’s leaders have been totally exposed for pushing a dirty lie to obtain a goal that the Department of Justice ruled discriminatory. The press went along for the ride and nobody was standing up for the truth.
That is until the staff members of the S.C. Election Commission arrived on the scene. They ignored the pressure from their state government bosses and found the truth.
We all owe gratitude to these staffers for protecting the integrity of our voting process from our state leaders who are trying to make a mockery of it.