COLUMBIA-- State officials are calling for an investigation after records determined that more than 900 people listed as deceased also have recently voted, calling into question the integrity of the state's election system.
What is unclear from the analysis released Wednesday to a House Judiciary Committee panel from the state Department of Motor Vehicles is whether voter fraud was committed by people assuming the identities of the deceased, or if poor record keeping has resulted in South Carolina residents being classified as deceased.
Kevin Shwedo, director of the DMV, did not have answers, saying that would be up to investigators. He based his testimony before lawmakers on State Election Commission records that included when people last voted and matched that with death records.
The panel took no action on his report.
"If you have voted after you are dead, there is a good, strong possibility that you did something illegal," he said after speaking to the panel. "At that point in time, it comes out of my hands and goes into legal hands. ... It's not my job to explain that."
Attorney General Alan Wilson referred the DMV's allegations to state investigators.
The analysis came out of research related to the state's new voter ID law. That measure was rejected last month by the U.S. Justice Department.
The law required people to have state- or military-issued identification, a U.S. passport or a new state voter registration card that contains a picture in order to vote in person. Photo identification is not required for voting by absentee ballot.
Rep. Bakari Sellers, a Denmark Democrat, said Shwedo's work shows the GOP's push for the law didn't cover the basics of gathering the numbers to show how the law would affect voters, and now is telling the Justice Department that it used bad numbers to make a decision.
"This is the General Assembly's fault," he said.
State Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Charleston, said, "If this isn't clear and concise evidence of why we need Voter ID, I don't know what more we can say."