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Are Dead People Voting By Mail?

Summary:
The subtitle of this new paper is “Evidence From Washington State Administrative Records,” and the authors are Jennifer Wu, Chenoa Yorgason, Hanna Folsz, Cassandra Handan-Nader, Andrew Myers, Tobias Nowacki, Daniel M. Thompson, Jesse Yoder, and Andrew B. Hall.  Here is the abstract: A commonly expressed concern about vote-by-mail in the United States is that mail-in ballots are sent to dead people, stolen by bad actors, and counted as fraudulent votes. To evaluate how often this occurs in practice, we study the state of Washington, which sends every registered voter a mail-in ballot. We link counted ballots and administrative death records to estimate the rate at which dead people’s mail-in ballots are improperly counted as valid votes, using birth dates from online obituaries to address

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The subtitle of this new paper is “Evidence From Washington State Administrative Records,” and the authors are Jennifer Wu, Chenoa Yorgason, Hanna Folsz, Cassandra Handan-Nader, Andrew Myers, Tobias Nowacki, Daniel M. Thompson, Jesse Yoder, and Andrew B. Hall.  Here is the abstract:

A commonly expressed concern about vote-by-mail in the United States is that mail-in ballots are sent to dead people, stolen by bad actors, and counted as fraudulent votes. To evaluate how often this occurs in practice, we study the state of Washington, which sends every registered voter a mail-in ballot. We link counted ballots and administrative death records to estimate the rate at which dead people’s mail-in ballots are improperly counted as valid votes, using birth dates from online obituaries to address false positives. Among roughly 4.5 million distinct voters in Washington state between 2011 and 2018, we estimate that there are 14 deceased individuals whose ballots might have been cast suspiciously long after their death, representing 0.0003% of voters. Even these few cases may reflect two individuals with the same name and birth date, or clerical errors, rather than fraud. After exploring the robustness of our findings to weaker conditions for matching names, we conclude that it seems extraordinarily rare for dead people’s ballots to be counted as votes in Washington’s universal vote-by-mail system.

No, in other words. And here is a tweet storm on the paper by Andy Hall.

The post Are Dead People Voting By Mail? appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

Tyler Cowen
Tyler Cowen is an American economist, academic, and writer. He occupies the Holbert C. Harris Chair of economics as a professor at George Mason University and is co-author, with Alex Tabarrok, of the popular economics blog Marginal Revolution. Cowen and Tabarrok have also ventured into online education by starting Marginal Revolution University. He currently writes the "Economic Scene" column for the New York Times, and he also writes for such publications as The New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Newsweek, and the Wilson Quarterly.

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