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Local N.Y. election official warns of people requesting mail-in ballots using dead voters' names

"Our local district attorneys should take this very seriously, and I would suggest they should endeavor to prosecute those who are behind this," says Nick LaLota, Suffolk County elections commissioner, who received an application dated Sept. 4 from a person who died in June.

Updated: September 12, 2020 - 11:33am

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A local election official in New York state is warning that some people are trying to request mail-in ballots for the November election using the personal information of deceased people. 

"Just this morning we revealed an absentee ballot application that was dated September 4th from a voter who died in June," said Nick LaLota, Suffolk County elections commissioner, during a mail-in voting discussion on Thursday hosted by House Administration Committee ranking member Rep. Rodney Davis. "Those things ought to be ferreted out. I hope that we're all in agreement that it is part of this county and other county boards of elections duties, to identify those and to ensure that ballots don't go out, in this case for a dead person."

LaLota called on local district attorneys in New York and other states to find and prosecute people who are trying to request ballots under the names of dead people.

"Further, our local district attorneys should take this very seriously, and I would suggest they should endeavor to prosecute those who are behind this because, obviously, you know, we just got this application in the last couple of days and the voter died months ago," he said. "Somebody is out there, trying to vote for a dead person, and we ought to identify who that person is and ensure they're brought to justice."

In response to LaLota, Davis, an Illinois Republican, said: "It's not nice to know there's possibly dead people voting in states outside of Illinois." 

In 2013, it was reported that "more than 6,000 dead people" were registered to vote in Nassau County and "about 270 of them actually voted after their deaths." The same news report noted that Suffolk County had "about 2,490 deceased people registered to vote, with roughly 50 listed as voting after their death."

While voters in New York are required to request a mail-in ballot first, other states such as New Jersey have decided to proactively mail out ballots to every registered voter due to the coronavirus pandemic. In 2018, it was reported that dead people remain on the voter files in New Jersey. 

 

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