Do Pennsylvania elections see dead people?

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – State Representative Greg Rothman (R-Cumberland) campaigned door-to-door in Enola Friday afternoon.

He joked as he approached a graveyard.

“There’s a cemetery right over here,” he said with a mischievous smile. “I’m not going door-to-door there, though.”

Rothman was joking. But the man he supports for president, Donald Trump, wasn’t when he recently suggested voter fraud in Pennsylvania is a concern.

Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State Pedro Cortes wasn’t joking either when he angrily responded to The Donald’s allegations.

“This is not only wrong and ill-informed, it is also dangerous,” Cortes said with disgust at a news conference the day after Trump’s claims. The news conference was called specifically to swat away Trump’s voter fraud comments.

That irritated Rothman.

“We can’t have this ‘there’s nothing to see here.’ We need to be vigilant and need to make sure we have fair elections,” Rothman said.

A Thursday report by WPVI-TV, the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia, found that people dead for a decade had been voting ever since.

Cortes’ office downplayed the report, insisting they were clerical errors and not fraud. It also dismissed the number, saying WPVI found only a handful of cases in a city with a million voters.

Rothman is not as dismissive.

“They (dead people) shouldn’t be on the voter roles and the fact they’ve voted multiple times and, obviously it’s Halloween, but they’re not voting from the dead,” Rothman said. “Somebody’s voting for them and it’s a crime in Pennsylvania and it should be prosecuted.”

We visited the head of Dauphin County elections, Jerry Feaser. He did not see the WPVI report but puts little stock in it.

Are dead people voting in Dauphin County?

“No, they are not,” Feaser said in what might be his shortest answer to a question ever.

Is he pretty sure of that?

“I am quite confident of that,” he said without elaborating.

An ABC27 viewer, Gerard Bucko, wrote to tell his mother-in-law submitted an absentee ballot and passed away shortly thereafter. He wanted to know if her vote will be counted?

Feaser said her vote shouldn’t, it should be rejected. But then he added that it could be counted because the state only informs counties once a month of deceased residents.

“If someone has passed away in the closing weeks of the election and they have voted absentee, if we are not made aware of it and we don’t catch it, then their vote may end up being counted,” Feaser said. So, it’s possible but not likely and either way, it’s not a big number.

But, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, there could be an advantage to dead people voting. Maybe the candidates would spend more time chasing votes in cemeteries and less time haunting the rest of us.

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