Investigation Finds No Dead Voters — And Zero Voter Fraud — In South Carolina

South Carolina elections are still free of dead voters.

That’s what the State Election Commission concluded from its investigation into South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s declaration that over 900 dead people may have voted in recent elections.

Though the charge itself is laughable, South Carolina was still compelled to devote taxpayer money to investigate whether their elections had indeed been tainted by zombie voters. Unsurprisingly, they uncovered no evidence of voter fraud:

The State Election Commission said Thursday that 95 percent of the 207 allegedly dead people who voted in the 2010 general election either were alive and cast ballots legally or did not vote. […]

Of its review of the 207 contested votes cast in 2010, the commission found:

106 votes were clerical errors by poll workers – mistakes like marking John Doe Sr. instead of John Doe Jr.

56 votes were “bad data matching” – meaning the state Department of Motor Vehicles, which raised concerns about zombie voters, was wrong in assuming the voters were dead.

32 votes were “voter participation errors,” meaning someone was credited as voting in an election when they did not, most likely because of a stray mark on the voter rolls that was electronically scanned to record a voter’s participation.

Three ballots were cast absentee by voters who died before Election Day.

In the other five percent of cases, there wasn’t enough information to determine an explanation, though still no evidence for fraud.

When Wilson first leveled the charge, many conservative media outlets, from Human Events to Fox News to Weasel Zippers and others, jumped on the story, using it as justification for South Carolina’s discriminatory voter ID law. Now, four days after the State Election Commission released its initial findings, none of these organizations have ran an update or correction, much less a full story informing their readers that “dead voters” in South Carolina still don’t exist.

That’s the major problem with Scooby-Doo accusations like “dead voters”: the investigation is sexy, but the finale is always far more mundane. As ThinkProgress wrote earlier this month, “when the allegations are inevitably shown to be false, far fewer news outlets follow up.” As a result, many people are still left with the mistaken impression that dead voters tainted South Carolina’s recent elections.