Dead people receiving ballot applications causing concern and drawing confusion

Your Local Election HQ

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — It appears dead people across the Midstate are getting offers to apply for mail-in ballots.

Is it a scam? Voter fraud? Can dead people cast ballots? The answer to those questions is no.

But is it causing confusion and concern? That answer, however, is a resounding yes.

Terry Orendi was caught by surprise when her husband received an application for a mail-in ballot. The problem is that her husband is dead.

“For my husband. He’s deceased now almost two years,” Orendi said.

She posted the unexpected application on Facebook and it blew up. Lots of other dead people have been receiving applications too.

“It’s not illegal. It’s confusing and that’s the unfortunate part,” says Jerry Feaser, who runs elections for Dauphin County.

Feaser has a stack of the mailer’s most marked deceased and says third parties are sending them out using outdated mailing lists. “In one case there’s somebody who said they got it for their cat.”

“The phones are ringing off the hook,” says Bethany Salzarulo, who runs elections for Cumberland County.

She’s seen several different mailers which are not ballots but rather applications to request ballots.

“I don’t want it to be out there and have people think that we have deceased people on our voter rolls because we don’t,” Salzarulo said.

And if somebody tried to submit an application for the dead?

“It’s a crime. You’re attempting voter fraud,” Feaser said.

How confident are they that if someone filled out a ballot for a dead person they would catch it?

“A 100 percent confident. We get reports every month from the Department of Health of people who died in Cumberland County,” Salzarulo said.

Officials say the best way to make sure your mail-in is counted is to apply for it now. Then when it’s returned in September or early October, send it back promptly. Don’t wait until the last minute.

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