“We just recently learned that there are over 900 individuals who had died before the election (and had voted) and at least 600 of those individuals had died way outside the window that an absentee ballot could have been sent, so we know for a fact that there are deceased people whose identities are being used in elections in South Carolina.”— South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson (R), on Fox News, Jan. 21, 2012
“We found out that there were over 900 people who died and then subsequently voted. That number could be even higher than that.” — Wilson, on Fox News, Jan. 12, 2012
“Without Photo ID, let’s be clear, I don’t want dead people voting in the state of South Carolina.” — South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), in an interview that aired on Fox News, April 21, 2012
We don’t normally delve into statements so long after they were made, but this is an unusual case, brought to our attention by a reader. Take a look at the rather definitive statements made by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, such as “we know for a fact that there are deceased people whose identities are being used in elections in South Carolina.” This was a rather shocking claim, which stemmed from allegations made by Kevin Schwedo, executive director of the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. (“Well over 900 individuals appear to have voted after they died.”) One state lawmaker famously declared: “We must have certainty in South Carolina that zombies aren’t voting.”
Haley did not entirely jump on the same factual bandwagon, though she made her statement on a Fox News program devoted to voter fraud. The Fox correspondent immediately followed her statement with these words: “Authorities say there is evidence that dead people voting is a real problem, according to a statewide investigation by South Carolina’s Department of Motor Vehicles. In January, it found that 953 ballots were cast by voters who are deceased.”
The allegations emerged as South Carolina officials sought to impose a new voter photo ID law during the 2012 election; a federal court delayed it from taking effect until 2013.
Claims of voter irregularities often generate big headlines, but the follow-up generates much less attention. Believe it or not, the results of the full investigation into these claims has only now been revealed. So was any of this true?