68,000 Texans no longer have to prove they're not dead in order to vote

68,000 Texans will no longer have to prove that they aren't dead in order to vote in the next election. The state of Texas has settled a suit brought on behalf of 68,000 "potentially deceased" Texas voters who shared a birthdate and a partial Social Security match with a person appearing on a federal death register. These people will now be able to vote, unless Texas can prove they're dead. Another 12,000 voters will still have to prove that they're not dead before casting a ballot. More from Lowering the Bar:

Under the previous rules, voters were identified as "potentially deceased" if there was at least a "weak match" (such as a birth date plus a partial Social Security number) between their information and the federal death records the state was consulting. The weakly matched dead made up 68,000 of the 80,000 people who received a letter from voting officials telling them they would be removed from the rolls if they didn't speak up. Under the settlement, the burden shifts to officials to prove those people are really dead; the remainder ("strong matches"), who are much more likely to be dead, will still have to prove otherwise if they can.

"Today's order [approving the settlement] is another step toward improving the integrity of the election system," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who had unsuccessfully tried to defend the state's original plan. I think it's actually the same step, but 85% smaller.

Texas Settles With Previously Dead Voters


      1. What do you have against the (mostly small, family-owned) Japanese companies that are over a thousand years old?  And were you aware that the average “lifespan” of a company in the S&P 500 index is now just 15 years?

        1. No doubt they’re not all immortal, and I don’t have a problem with any corporation in terms of its actual longevity, however short or long.  I do have a problem with them being personified, though.  And the fact that some do have a lifespan in the range of millennia certainly points even more to the absurdity of equating them with people.

  1. “The Weakly-matched Dead” would make an awesome title for … something. Maybe it’s a romantic comedy about people who meet on a dating site for zombies. I don’t know. But have your people call mine anyway. It’s going to be huge.

  2. You would think that dragging your corpse down to the polling place would be proof enough… but… not if there’s lots of zombies.

  3. “No-no, you don’t understand.  I only said that the election-day activities at the polling stations in Democratic districts reminded me of an attack by a zombie horde.  I never intended for anybody to be kicked off the rolls.”

  4. Seems like a lot of the tentacles of this centralized Republican effort to suppress votes in Democratic-leaning places are getting chopped off these days. I wonder if anyone has compiled a list of them, along with a list of those that are still alive? What I’m basically wondering is just how strong this vote-suppression monster still is.

  5. A *partial* Social Security number? Someone doesn’t understand how Social Security numbers work, I think.

    1. I hope, but not much, that they were talking about the last few digits and not the first few, since they are going to be a lot of the same people with both the first 3 and a birthdate dead and alive.

      1. Is there a problem with using the WHOLE number?  You know, the thing that is tied to a SPECIFIC PERSON?

          1. The problem with using the whole number is that people freak out when a number that’s simultaneously supposed to be secret and ubiquitously used is used in a way that even hints at violating that polite fiction.

    2. “Partial Match” means “Guaranteed not to be the right person, unless it’s an exact match.”   An exact match isn’t a guarantee, because there are some people using other people’s social security numbers for paperwork.  (And what are voter rolls doing with SSNs anyway?)

      Are Old Texans more likely to be Democrats than Republicans? 

      I realize that Romney thinks they’re part of the 47% and will therefore vote for Obama, but we’re talking about Texas here.

      1. There’s a guy who doesn’t pay his bills who shares my first and last name and his SSN is only a couple of digits different than mine. I’m really sick of getting collection calls for him.

    3. Clearly they do not.  I spent my entire time at college arguing with my college’s administrators over this that and the other.  Why?  Out of something statistically freaky, she and I entered the same college at the same time, had the same initials and had only ONE number difference in our SSN’s.  As an added bonus, we came from neighboring counties and went to a state college.  If a college can have that much trouble keeping two CURRENT, LIVING students straight with COMPLETE social security numbers, just what in the blue blazes did Texas think they were doing with *partials*?  It takes the WHOLE and accurate number to identify a person.

      Furthermore, it takes a whole number AND a whole name. This gets particularly important if either the person’s name is common – in whole or part.  Hell, my first name is uncommon and there’s still at least a pretty good handful of others with it – and several of them have my last name with a couple having the same middle initial.  The State of Texas could have gotten similar “accuracy” to their method of names and partial social security numbers by using phone books and darts.

  6. How the hell do Republicans ever justify barring people based on “weak matches”, like SSNs being “partially” the same? Heck, thousands of people in the same district will have SSNs “partially” the same, since the start of an SSN is an area number.

    Every. Single. F*cking. Time. that a news report comes along saying, say, 47,000 dead people voted in Texas last election or whatever (there was even someone quoting this in BB the other day), it *always* turns out that 99% of these people were flagged by “weak” matches that decide that the SSNs 1234 and 6234 are basically the same, and the names “Sam” and “Tim” are basically the same, so this seemingly-alive “Tim” must actually be the dead “Sam” trying to illegally vote.

    1. The whole issue of barring dead voters and other measures like voter ID are just pure partisan politics.

      Republicans want to disenfranchise these people because they are likely to vote democrat.

      I don’t believe democrats are the good guys who really care about peoples rights to vote, they just don’t want to see likely voters for them not allowed to vote.

      That being said, democrats are doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, but the republicans are just plain wrong.

      1.  Well said.  It always feels a little distasteful to me to defend the Democrats on this one because as you say it’s not as though they’re doing it out of principle.  But they’re doing the right thing nonetheless.

      2. I don’t believe democrats are the good guys who really care about peoples rights to vote, they just don’t want to see likely voters for them not allowed to vote. That being said, democrats are doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, but the republicans are just plain wrong.

        If Democrats are not trying to disenfranchise Republican voters, that seems like an awfully bizarre analysis.

  7. Texas is on firm philosophical ground here. Are we not all “potentially dead?” 

    I think instead of worrying about silly voting stuff, you need to be asking yourself if you’re potentially alive. Yeah. You’re welcome.

  8. Who thought this crap up? SSNs are similar by region, and given sequentially. So two people who were born in the same region, born on the same day, will have very similar SSNs; in some cases only a few digits difference. Also, what happen to all those laws over the last 20 years preventing the government from using SSN? I guess those were thrown out the window too. 

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