Deceased Voters

Photo of coffinVoters die every single day and the likelihood of your campaign mailing the deceased a birthday card, for instance, is greater than you might think.

Using Miami-Dade County as an example, 18,350 people died in the county in 2005. That is approximately 50 per day. Of those, half or more were voters, which means 25 voters died each day in Miami-Dade.

In the past, there has been no automatic notification to the Department of Elections of deaths.  Families rarely think to remove their deceased family members from the voter rolls after the voter dies. Unless the process has changed in the last few years, the Elections Department routinely collects the obituaries and purge their files if they can definitively identify the deceased as having been a voter. No Supervisor of Elections, nor any data processor, is going to get ahead of death.

Deceased Voters Are Always On the Rolls

We suspect there is a least a 30 day lag between the time someone dies and when the Elections Department finds out about it. This means that at least 750 deceased voters are on the rolls in Miami-Dade on any given day. We know from experience, that many dead voters can remain on the rolls for years. Again, this is unless things have changed recently.

Now, this is all based on getting a brand new file from the Elections Department on the day we send our mailer or birthday cards. Every day that goes by increases the likelihood of sending mail to a deceased voter.

The bottom line is that there is absolutely no way around this problem. The best thing that you can do is to have you or your staff apologize to a complainant and explain that the Elections Department is obviously not up to date on deceased voters. Then offer to remedy the problem by helping the caller notify the Elections Department of the voter’s status. This not only mitigates the irritation of receiving a birthday card for a deceased voter, but it will ingratiate the candidate to the caller because his staff will have helped them correct the situation. 

We currently create birthday card lists for about 20 elected officials. They all have this problem.