Md. GOP claims inaccurate voter registration files include 20,000 dead on the rolls

By Glynis Kazanjian

Register to vote stamps

Photo by kevin dooley

Twenty-thousand deceased Marylanders remain on voter registration rolls, 268,000 voters are registered at addresses where they don’t live, and 48 are listed with record ages higher than 114 years old, according to an analysis by the Maryland Republican Party.

Republicans released their findings Tuesday, citing data collected from current state election files, the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Postal Office National Change of Address (NCOA) information and commercial information available on the web. They evaluated the data with a specially designed voter management software program.

“We want to share our findings with the State Board of Elections to make sure voter rolls are cleansed properly,” said Maryland Republican Party Executive Director David Ferguson. “This is not an attack on the state board. They are just a repository for all 24 counties. It’s very difficult to remove someone from the voter file.”

Changes in law might be needed

He said the findings illustrate that there might need to be changes in Maryland law, or that elections officials need to go above and beyond the current system in order to make sure the voter rolls accurately reflect Maryland voters.

The report found 11,170 individuals Fingers spelling out votecurrently on the voter rolls have changed their address to Virginia, 4,352 to Delaware, 11,113 to Pennsylvania, and 3,696 to New York. Media reports say that the world’s two oldest people are 114 and 116 — making it extremely unlikely that Maryland has 48 people aged 114 or older, as the analysis found on the voter rolls.

State election officials, who received preliminary information this week, will investigate the findings just as soon as the Republican Party turns over its data, Voter Registration Director Mary Cramer-Wagner said.

Only so much elections board can do

Unlike maintenance performed on voter registration address files, there is only so much the state election board can do to remove the dead from the voter rolls under federal law. The 1965 National Voting Rights Act prohibits names from being removed from voter rolls unless official notification of a person’s death is received. Currently the state board relies only on monthly death reports from the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and notifications submitted by family members.

“We get information from vital statistics,” Cramer-Wagner said. “If the information is not given to me, I cannot arbitrarily remove a person’s name.”

The state also cancels registration of voters who are inactive for two general elections that are either presidential or gubernatorial. The cancellation follows two official election mailings — a sample ballot sent prior to the election followed by an address confirmation notification — that have both been returned for a bad address.

Cramer-Wagner said beginning next week, election board staff will also be able to utilize a new voter registration maintenance program the state board launched last year, which will provide another layer of data that the state board currently doesn’t access. Information from the state’s new Electronic Registration Information Center program will include social security death records, U.S. Postal Service files and voter data, including address changes, from other states.

While new data – and the GOP’s findings – will prompt the state board to send out confirmation mailings, files cannot be updated until a death is officially confirmed.

“Any additional sources for removing someone from the statewide voter registration database would require a change in the law,” Cramer-Wagner said.

GOP grateful for board’s cooperation

Ferguson said he is grateful for the cooperation he’s received from the state election board, but hopes that Maryland law will be changed.

“The state and local boards are doing everything they are required to do,” Ferguson stated. “Our supplemental information is not about the [state board’s] lack of proper administration, but finding other ways to accomplish the same goals. We hope the state of Maryland can benefit from our findings.”

 Of the 268,004 registered names with different addresses than those on file, the GOP contends approximately 167,113 now live at a different location within Maryland and approximately 100,891 have filed change of address forms stating they now live out of state. Ferguson said the research group compared voter data against a National Change of Address search through the  Postal Service.

In releasing their findings, state party chair Diana Waterman said,“It is time to open the books and cleanse our list of the deceased and those no longer residing in Maryland to make sure we fully understand who is voting in our elections.”

About The Author

Len Lazarick

Len Lazarick was the founding editor and publisher of and is currently the president of its nonprofit corporation and chairman of its board He was formerly the State House bureau chief of the daily Baltimore Examiner from its start in April 2006 to its demise in February 2009. He was a copy editor on the national desk of the Washington Post for eight years before that, and has spent decades covering Maryland politics and government.


  1. karolh

    This could be handled easily, by simply adding a line to the death certificate in each state asking for the “state of birth and county”, from that a notice could be sent by US mail, email or fax to the birth state, “This is to confirm that John Doe, born on 00/00/000, in county, state, was deceased on 00/00/0000 in county, state., and signed with digital signature of official, from county, state.” Once the birth state election board receives this confirmation, they can adjust their records accordingly. They may have to create a small office and hire an employee to take care of this. I think using email would be the lest expensive, no new programs will be needed, as there is already a base program that will just be changed for the deceased and hiring a couple of part time senior’s would be perfect for the job. I really do not see this as a major problem, however, with this state it will turn into 4 to 5 years of debates and conferences, many drafts of the certificates, wording and finding the most expensive printing cost, therefore, once again creating more expense for the tax payers.

  2. carolisme

    We have the dead vote, the people who don’t live in their address vote, the voting machine “error” votes right here in the little state of Maryland. Now, reports are coming out from all across the country of similar findings. If we just took a low average of 200,00 illegal votes per state, more in some and less in others, it would total to 10,000,000 votes, and there you have a totally different outcome of the last election. How do we sit back and do nothing to fix this travesty of the peoples voting rights? We are witnessing the biggest fraud ever perpetuated on the American people and we cannot have another election and expect anything but more of the same unless this busted system is fixed. If this is the case, all election results will end up as a win for the Democrats and the America we knew will gasp her last breath.

    • W.W.

      Having dead people still registered to vote doesn’t mean that they ARE voting. Pay a little attention here.

    • DavidT

      As W.W. suggests, there is no evidence anywhere that these people — dead, moved, or 114 years old — are voting at all. Besides, what makes you think that illegal votes are always for Democrats?

  3. Ron Pagano JD

    Are these some of the ‘Brain Dead?’ If so, they must surely vote GOP! lol

  4. robert gould

    and the 20,000 dead cast 40,000 votes O’Mally

  5. cebg

    Since they must have the names of these people, are they deleting them from the voter registration? It is one thing to investigate but absolutely useless if nothing is done!