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State Officials Asked To Probe Flaws In Voter Lists

From Staff Reports // Published April 22, 2008 in The Hartford Courant
Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz asked state election officials Monday to investigate the failure of local officials to purge the names of long-dead residents from voter rolls.

Bysiewicz was responding to an investigation by University of Connecticut journalism students, who found the names of 8,500 dead still listed as registered voters, including a Hamden woman who died in 1979.

Three hundred dead voters were recorded as casting votes in elections since 1994, but the UConn study published Sunday by The Courant found no evidence of fraud.

Instead, Bysiewicz said Monday, dead voters apparently were checked off as voting as a result of clerical errors, not an effort to illegally cast votes.

"The good news is there is no evidence of voter fraud," Bysiewicz said.

But the UConn findings showed that existing safeguards failed to work in at least 40 towns.

State law requires town clerks to notify registrars of voters every month of the deaths of residents older than 17. Registrars also conduct an annual canvass by mail to see whether voters still are local residents.

Joseph Camposeo, the president of the town clerks association, said in many cases voters die in an out-of-town nursing home, so the local clerk has no record of the deaths.

Bysiewicz filed a complaint with the state elections enforcement commission and also asked state public health officials for help checking a voter registration list against a state registry of deaths.