Virginia discovers nearly 19,000 dead people on voter rolls

As Virginia election officials work to clean up the state’s voter rolls, they announced the discovery of a huge number of dead people still listed as registered voters in the state.

After reviewing death records dating back to 1960, they found 18,990 deceased voters who had not been removed.

“I knew that there was something there, but I didn’t know that it was this big,” said Virginia Elections Commissioner Susan Beals.

Beals said it was an error that was being corrected.

“It was a computer coding error that missed between the date of the death being reported and the date of the death certificate,” Beals said. “We are in the process of building a new statewide voter registration system, and I want to make sure that the data we put into that system is as up to date as it can possibly be.”

Beals said that, moving forward, local registrars would be given new authority to remove someone’s name from the rolls in response to an obituary or a family’s notification.

Previously, they needed to have an official death certificate to do that.

“We have made it easier to identify and remove deceased voters more quickly,” Beals said. “This is actually something that registrars have requested.”

The state’s elections department introduced a new database that allows registrars to look up Virginia voters who may have died in another state.

In the past, registrars ran into problems when trying to confirm the death Virginia voters who died in out-of-state hospitals or facilities.

The new database is particularly useful for registrars who serve in areas bordering Virginia’s five neighboring states and the District, according to Beals.

“A lot of times, these are facilities in Tennessee, Kentucky or West Virginia and they’re not in Virginia,” Beals said. “People are dying there and may not get a Virginia death certificate.”

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up