Dead man voting

When it comes to casting your ballot in St Johns County, there’s an old joke about corrupt politicos registering voters from the cemetery just to get their candidate elected; however, Supervisor of Elections Vicky Oakes told Historic City News editor Michael Gold that is not likely to happen these days.

Since January 1st, Oakes office has purged 932 deceased voters from the official rolls and she told us that she gets updated information as deaths are reported every day.

“I have a suspense file that comes to me through the Florida Division of Elections in Tallahassee,” the Supervisor explained. “It contains information that is collected from several external sources that help us keep our local voter database up-to-date.”

One of the sources is the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and another is the Social Security Administration Deceased Master File.

As an added convenience, agents of the Florida Division of Drivers License can offer to register you to vote at the same time that you are applying for your drivers license or automobile tag. The information collected in that transaction is verified by the Division of Elections and passed along to the local Supervisor for registration and updating purpose.

If you look at your Social Security card, you will see printed, “Not to be used for identification”. Think of the number as a bank account number used to track your retirement benefits; and, although it is not commonly known, because of the way the Administration maintains its records, the nine-digit account number itself is not unique.

Despite that fact, many financial institutions and government agencies regularly maintain that non-public information as part of their records — motor vehicle, drivers license and voter records are but three of many examples.

When the Social Security Administration receives the inevitable “death claim” for a social security account, they post that information to the Deceased Master File which is distributed by the agency to vendors who subscribe to the service — including the Florida Division of Elections.

“With all of the checks and cross-checks that we can do today, in a matter of seconds we can spot voter fraud in ways that would have taken months or years to detect in the past — if ever,” Oakes told reporters.

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