Tens of thousands of deceased and duplicative voter registrations were found after the 2020 election in North Carolina, according to a Tuesday report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF).

PILF, which describes itself as a public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity, cross-referenced state records and found that 7,933 North Carolinians were still registered to vote “long after death” in 2020. Roughly 12,940 deceased registrants were found on the rolls in the spring of 2020, “ranking the state 8th in the nation.”


The non-profit provided a few examples of North Carolina voters who were left on the rolls long after death, including Hoyle Helms, a World War II veteran who died in 1997 — he reportedly remained on the voter rolls for nearly 25 years. Another voter, Mary Coleman, died in 2003 and “remained active on the state’s voter rolls for nearly two decades.”

“These examples were not removed by officials until 2021, despite their deaths roughly 20 years ago,” the report states.

An absentee ballot election worker consolidates a large stack of absentee ballot applications at the Mecklenburg Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina on September 4, 2020. - The US election is officially open: North Carolina on September 4, 2020 launched vote-by-mail operations for the November 3 contest between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden, which is getting uglier by the day. Worries about the unabated spread of the coronavirus are expected to prompt a major increase in the number of ballots cast by mail, as Americans avoid polling stations. (Photo by Logan Cyrus / AFP) (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

An absentee ballot election worker consolidates a large stack of absentee ballot applications at the Mecklenburg Board of Elections office in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 4, 2020. (Photo by LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images)

As far as duplicative registrations, 42,984 North Carolina voter registrants left the state and “established or renewed their out-of-state registration before the 2020 election.” PILF reportedly used the U.S. Postal Service National Change of Address (NCOA) systems and the organization’s national voter database to track voters moving from their in-state address to another state to determine if they established a registration before November 2020. 

“The vast majority of this NCOA study shows that interstate duplicate residents cast ballots outside of North Carolina in 2020, accounting for roughly 87 percent. Only 8 percent of the duplicate registrants cast a ballot in NC. The remainder failed to vote in 2020,” PILF found. The non-profit noted that while being registered in two different places is not illegal in and of itself, some states like North Carolina consider a subsequent registration a disqualifying action.

Over 13,500 North Carolinians were also found to have registered twice in the state under variations of their names. According to the report, the state’s registration system, like other systems the organization has studied, can be “tricked” into registering the same person several times using similar biographical data inputs at the same addresses.

“These serve as an administrative challenge to be resolved as we see more automation to vote-by-mail. Otherwise, “John Public” and “John Q. Public” could each vote once, while the actual John is voting twice – a specific violation of North Carolina election law,” PILF stated. 

PILF’s findings highlight the “vulnerabilities” of the state’s voter rolls right before the 2022 midterm elections, the organization concluded.

“All eyes are on an open U.S. Senate race amid the state’s recent record of strong turnout and tight margins. This research brief outlines the vulnerabilities of North Carolina’s voter rolls, with the hope of seeing these issues resolved in the coming months, before federal laws shut the window of opportunity,” the report states.

PILF President J. Christian Adams called on North Carolina officials to “use the time they have” to prepare the voter rolls in time for what looks to be a close U.S. Senate race in the state.

“Time is running out. Silly, obvious errors in the voter roll can create opportunities for voter fraud and chaos in a close election. Correcting deceased and duplicate records now will help to preemptively address those risks,” Adams said in a statement.

Trump-endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC), who is currently leading in Republican Primary polls, told Breitbart News correcting the issue would help “restore trust in our elections.”

US President Donald Trump (L) and Democratic Presidential candidate and former US Vice President Joe Biden (R) participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22, 2020. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

U.S. President Donald Trump and Democratic Presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden participate in the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 22, 2020. (Photo by BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

“Election integrity is based on the principle that it should be easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Budd said. “The most straightforward reform that we should all be able to agree on is that our voter rolls should be free of deceased people and duplication. Correcting this issue is a commonsense step to restore trust in our elections.”

PILF added that North Carolina broke its record for unaccounted and undeliverable ballots in 2020 — 2,860 undeliverables and nearly 86,000 unaccounted for ballots requested by the voters.

“’Unknown’ ballots are officially defined as those transmitted without tracking which never returned for counting. In other words, local authorities do not know what happened to the ballots,” according to the non-profit. “Put into the context of the 2020 presidential election, for almost every ballot President Donald Trump won over then candidate Joe Biden, another went to an old address or is missing.”

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