There’s a crisp in the air and leaves on the ground now since Halloween is fast approaching. Walking to get the mail this morning I noticed my neighbor hauling plastic bones out of bags and arranging them artfully on his lawn so it appeared that skeletal hands were reaching out from graves, presumably to grab any wayward trick-or-treaters who’d wander by at the end of the month. I smiled because it all reminded me of the national joke Chicago and Cook County have become since so often it’s cited that the dead emerge from the ground on election nights and deliver their ballots to Democrats to push them just over the edge they need to win in close elections.
That got me to thinking: how many dead people REALLY do end up voting in Chicagoland or is this just a spooky urban, political legend?
I saw a credible report recently that noted around 20,640 dead people remain on the voter rolls in Cook County; my own personal experience with the Board of Elections in Illinois has taught me that the system we have in this state makes it very difficult to remove anyone from voter registration records…even if they’re currently residing six feet underground. In some ways this is a good thing because it means no one will ever have an easy time taking YOU off the voter rolls if they wanted to get up to mischief; it’s exasperating, however, to see so many dead people still registered to vote while the system slowly catches up with their death and ultimately purges them from the records.
I checked and couldn’t find any evidence that there had ever been a concerted effort to investigate if the dead people lingering on voter rolls ever cast ballots after their certificates of death have been filed. Do we really have zombie voters in Illinois? Of course, I don’t mean literally because that would mean reanimated corpses dig their way out of the ground like those plastic skeletons in my neighbor’s yard but I do wonder if anyone ever votes in the names of the recently deceased.
A friend of mine told me a story about a weird experience she had in another state where she and her mother went to vote and after they were done the woman running the polling place covertly looked around to see if she’d be overheard and then asked my friend if a person with the same last name as her mother and her’s would also be coming to vote. ”No, that’s my dad and he died two years ago so he shouldn’t be in that book” my friend told her. The woman conspiratorially leaned in and started to hand my friend another ballot while saying, “You can vote the way you think he would have if you wanted”.
Of course, my friend never touched her dead father’s ballot…but to this day I wonder how many people do indeed vote for the dead if given the chance at a polling place that does not have bipartisan security enforcement of voter integrity.
I’m excited to say enough people are curious about the 20,640 dead voters in Cook County’s system that an audit has just begun to determine if these people kept voting after they died. If this is the case, then we’ll be able to definitely prove whether the dead vote in Illinois. Modern advances in technology and the public nature of voting records make this type of investigation a process of data matching and sorting.
Whether they’re rising from their graves and shambling out of their tombs to do it or if people are taking opportunities offered to them to “vote how grandpa would have wanted to vote if he was still alive” will remain to be seen.
But I find it exciting that while some people are busy putting up their Halloween decorations we could really be digging up real evidence of “zombie voting” here in Illinois. Please stay tuned for updates on this developing story as we continue to unearth more facts about the “dead voting problem” that our state has been notorious for.