No, dead people didn’t vote in Philadelphia, elections boss says

Laveta Brigham

Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt said Wednesday that despite claims spreading in conservative circles online, there’s no evidence that any dead people voted in the city. “I have seen the most fantastical things on social media, making completely ridiculous allegations that have no basis in fact at all and seen […]

Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt said Wednesday that despite claims spreading in conservative circles online, there’s no evidence that any dead people voted in the city.

“I have seen the most fantastical things on social media, making completely ridiculous allegations that have no basis in fact at all and seen them spread,” Schmidt, a Republican co-chair of the three-member panel in charge of the city’s elections, told CNN in an interview.

He cited a report about “a long list of people that they said were dead voters who voted in Philadelphia. So, when we took a break between everything else that we’re doing, we looked it up, each one of them to see what their vote history was. Not a single one of them voted in Philadelphia after they died,” Schmidt said.

The conspiracy theory was shared last week by Rudy Giuliani and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, among others on the right.

Giuliani, one of President Donald Trump’s personal lawyers, told Fox News over the weekend that Philadelphia is “an epicenter of voter fraud” and said “we’re going to be looking at dead persons’ ballots, which may actually be very, very substantial.”

Asked if he had seen any evidence of widespread fraud, Schmidt said, “I have not. If evidence of widespread fraud, or evidence of any fraud at all is brought to our attention, we take a look at it and we refer it to … law enforcement, as we always do in every election.”

Trump apparently watched Schmidt’s interview – he tweeted afterward that Schmidt’s a “so-called Republican” who “refuses to look at a mountain of corruption & dishonesty. We win!”

A spokesperson for the city commissioner dismissed the tweet, telling NBC News, “I have no idea what the president is saying.”

There has been at least one incident elsewhere in Pennsylvania where a registered Republican in Luzerne County reportedly attempted to apply for an absentee ballot for his dead mother, but he didn’t make it past the application phase.

In Nevada, the Trump campaign has complained about voters who “improperly cast” their votes there despite not living in the state. Military.com reported Tuesday that a large chunk of those voters appears to be military voters, who are legally entitled to vote absentee in their home of record.

Schmidt told “TODAY” ahead of the 2016 election that the chances of rigging a presidential election in Philadelphia were “zero,” after then-candidate Trump claimed the election results in Pennsylvania were going to be “fixed” against him. Trump wound up winning the state then by almost 45,000 votes.

Image: Al Schmidt (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)
Image: Al Schmidt (Spencer Platt / Getty Images)

With 98 percent of the vote in Wednesday, Trump is losing the state to Joe Biden by around 48,000 votes.

Schmidt said Wednesday he’s been baffled by the amount of eagerly-accepted misinformation in the election.

“I realize a lot of people are happy about this election and a lot of people are not happy about this election. One thing I can’t comprehend is, how hungry people are to consume lies and to consume information that is not true,” he told CNN.

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