PittsburghJack's Place: The Voting Dead

PittsburghJack's Place

an outlet for political animals to share news, views and expose truths.

The Voting Dead

On tonight's newscast, WTAE-TV investigative reporter Paul Van Osdol ran a piece about deceased residents of Allegheny County voting after their death. The investigation found that half of those voters on the rolls over the age of 90 are dead and that several of them have cast ballots posthumously. The practice of the dead voting is not new, but it is about time that attention is paid to this and other voting irregularities.

Since the voting is done at the precinct level, it is not an easy task to impose controls to prevent the practice. The blame cannot be placed upon the county election bureau, but I suppose a system can be developed and put into practice that cross-referenced the voter rolls with a list of the deceased. That would, however, be a daunting task in a county with 900,000 registered voters.

Tomorrow, Jim Parsons takes a look at people who are on record as having voted twice in the same election.

There have been elections in the past few years in Allegheny County that have been extremely close -- Bob Cranmer over Coleen Vuono in 1995 and Bob O'Connor's loss to Tom Murphy in 2001 are two that immediately come to mind. Unfortunately, to challenge an election is very costly to a campaign. I do believe that in many elections over the years, however, it would have been money well spent as the outcome of some could have been overturned if the dead and other fraudulent votes cast were not counted.

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At 8:53 AM, Blogger Cope said...

"The blame cannot be placed upon the county election bureau..."

Why not? Isn't that why they're there? Is it too much to ask them to check i.d. and voter registration cards -- something I've never been asked to do when I've voted in Pittsburgh?

Like most things with our county government, the election bureau is inefficient and bloated, and real solutions to real problems are too likely to interfere with the status quo.

At 1:40 PM, Blogger PittsburghJack said...

Because the voting precincts are not manned ny county election bureau employees. the persons at the table thatsign you in and escort you to the booth are either locally elected at the precinct level orappointed to the positions if nobody runs for the seats. in other words, they're you're neighbors. yes, they should ask for i/d/ of voters, but in many or not most cases, they're involved in at least some degree in the fraud. much of the time, they are hand-picked by the ward bosses for that purpose.

At 1:45 PM, Blogger PittsburghJack said...

The Allegheny County Department of Elections maintains the voters rolls and the maintenance of the voting machines, as well as recounts and certifies the winners of elections. They can receive the blame for duplicate registrations or other errors that may exist with the voters roster or the malfunctioning of the equipment, but not for the routine voting fraud that exists. This is conducted at the precint level.

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At 1:28 PM, Blogger Mark Rauterkus said...

A PURPLE INK Bottle and a dipping of each person's right-handed thumb would fix this problem for about $2.99 per precinct.

And, it should be a suprise on election day as to what color is in style.

Random video cameras would go a long way too. Put the camera outside on the doorway into the polling place. Then, if trouble should be noticed, they'll have evidence and be able to put people in jail for 5 years for voter fraud.


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