Texas Settles With Previously Dead Voters

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According to the Austin American-Statesman (via Courthouse News), the lawsuit filed by Texas voters who had been told they were "potentially deceased" has been settled. See "'We're Not Dead, Say Texas Voters Informed They Were Dead," Lowering the Bar (Sept. 20, 2012). The agreement appears to be a victory for the four not-dead voters, who the state will now presume to be alive.

Under the previous rules, voters were identified as "potentially deceased" if there was at least a "weak match" (such as a birth date plus a partial Social Security number) between their information and the federal death records the state was consulting. The weakly matched dead made up 68,000 of the 80,000 people who received a letter from voting officials telling them they would be removed from the rolls if they didn't speak up. Under the settlement, the burden shifts to officials to prove those people are really dead; the remainder ("strong matches"), who are much more likely to be dead, will still have to prove otherwise if they can.

"Today's order [approving the settlement] is another step toward improving the integrity of the election system," said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, who had unsuccessfully tried to defend the state's original plan. I think it's actually the same step, but 85% smaller.