Why not let the dead vote?

Published 11:00 pm Monday, July 30, 2012

Why not let dead people vote?

Maybe I better explain.

A recent article in the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch says the Washington-based Voter Participation Center has sent voter registration applications — with names and addresses already filled in — to dead people, pets, felons, children, nonresidents, noncitizens and others who ought not be voting.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

There is suspicion among some that the group, which targets Democrat voting blocs, such as unmarried people, blacks, Latinos and young adults, is trying to pad voter rolls with ineligible voters who are likely to support Democrats.

But the center says all it is trying to do is to get legitimate, under-represented voters, who may be unregistered, to register and exercise their right to vote. It says it is using commercial mailing lists that are imperfect and produce all kinds of odd results.

According to CBS News, one woman, Brenda Charleston, received a filled-in application for a Rosie Charleston; “Rosie” was the name of her long-deceased dog.

The Washington Post reports one convicted felon received a filled-in application in the mail, signed it and became registered to vote. He was caught and tried, but some wonder how many other felons are voting illegally.

In other examples, people are receiving applications for children who are younger than 18 or live out of state, as well as long-deceased family members.

If people sign and return such applications, the only way a dead person or pet won’t become an eligible voter is if a state’s voting officials, who are doing crossword puzzles at Dunkin’ Donuts as you read this, let them slip through.

But while Republicans cry “Voter fraud!” and Democrats fume over Republican-backed voter ID laws that they contend are disenfranchising folks who don’t have ID handy when they vote, I ask this: Why not let the dead vote?

Look, the vast majority of Americans are on the public dole now, happily selling their votes to the politician who promises them the biggest goodies — and I’m not talking just about those at the bottom end of the economic scale.

Food stamp programs, some $70 billion a year, have ballooned under President Obama.

But the real spending is with entitlement programs, such as Social Security, Medicare and now ObamaCare. People are taking out four and five times more from the programs than they ever paid in.

These programs need to be reformed, but any politician who tries to do so faces widespread rebellion among voters who won’t hear of it.

Way too many people are on the dole these days — farmers who get subsidies not to grow, “green” businesses that get grants because of their political connections, global corporations that lobby for special tax breaks.

So why not dead people? Don’t they deserve a piece of the government pie?

What about American children who are too young to vote? They will be paying for our current government handouts for the rest of their lives. Don’t they deserve a voice now?

If we’re going to toss our country away on runaway spending and benefits, why not be above-board about it?

Why not let the dead vote?

Tom Purcell isa freelance writer is also a humor columnist.