North Carolina election officials are conducting a massive investigation into voter fraud after discovering that thousands of voters may have cast their ballots in two states during the 2012 presidential election.
The officials are also investigating the cases of dozens of "zombie voters" who appeared to have voted in the general election after their deaths.
An initial inquiry has uncovered hundreds of cases — and possibly thousands of cases — of potential fraud. And Republican legislators on an election oversight committee are now demanding a sweeping probe that could lead to criminal prosecution because double voting is a felony, according to the Charlotte Observer
The election officials found that 765 registered North Carolina voters appeared to have voted in two states in 2012. In each case, the first and last names, dates of birth and last four digits of their Social Security numbers matched exactly with a voter registered in another unnamed state, and who voted in both states in 2012.
The inquiry also identified 35,750 voters with matching names and dates of birth who voted in North Carolina and other states that year. Each case will now be investigated individually to see whether voter fraud had taken place, according to Fox News
Elections Director Kim Strach told the oversight committee, "Could it be voter fraud? Sure, it could be voter fraud. Could it be an error on the part of a precinct person choosing the wrong person's name in the first place? It could be. We're looking at each of these individual cases."
Republican state Sen. Thom Goolsby reacted angrily, declaring, "That is outrageous. That is criminal. That is wrong, and it shouldn’t be allowed to go any further without substantial investigations from our local district attorneys who are the ones charged with enforcing these laws."
According to the news site WRAL.com
, 81 North Carolina residents who died before election day cast a ballot. Although 30 of them may have legally voted before their deaths, Starch said that that between 40-50 people had voted when it was impossible for them to have done so -- because they were already dead.
"We have the 'Walking Dead,' and now we've got the 'Voting Dead,'" said Republican state Sen. Bob Rucho.
Asked by Rucho to confirm that up to 50 dead people had voted, Strach declined, saying, "I do want to stress that the reason could be precinct error."
She warned that in the past so-called zombie voters have turned out to be clerical errors.
"We're in the process of looking at each of these to see," she said. "That means either a poll or precinct worker made a mistake and marked the wrong person, or someone voted for them. That's something we can't determine until we look into each case."
Mitt Romney won the Tar Heel State by just 92,000 votes in one of the closest contests of the 2012 election.
The Republican-controlled state legislature passed a law last year that called for the cross-checking of the state’s 6.5 million voters against a database containing information for 101 million voters in 28 states.
Election officials found 35,570 North Carolina voters had first and last names, and dates of birth, matching voters who voted in other states, which did not list the last four numbers of the Social Security numbers.
"A lot of states don't provide last four SSN, or they don't have that information," Strach said.
But it was still enough to convince state Rep. Tim Moore, a Republican, that there had been overwhelming cases of voter fraud.
"The big bombshell today is that you have documented voter fraud that has occurred," he said. "We have over 36,000 people who apparently voted in this state illegally and committed felonies."
Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger said in a joint statement that the information proves the success of the voting changes, including joining the 28-state voter database.
"While we are alarmed to hear evidence of widespread voter error and fraud, we are encouraged to see the common-sense law passed to ensure voters are who they say they are is working,” they said. “These findings should put to rest ill-informed claims that problems don’t exist and help restore the integrity of our elections process."
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