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The Daily Tar Heel

Some North Carolina voters who were recently thought to be dead are, in fact, alive.

Last month, the Voter Integrity Project of N.C. sent a list of nearly 30,000 names of registered voters who were potentially deceased to the N.C. State Board of Elections.

Since then, the board has been crunching its own numbers and has discovered some inconsistencies.

Both groups matched names from the board’s list of about 6.3 million registered voters and a list of approximately 750,000 individuals who died in the last decade, which was provided by the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

The project did its matching mainly based on first name, last name and potential age. The Board of Elections used more specific information that’s not as widely available, such as dates of birth, voter registration numbers and Social Security numbers.

Veronica Degraffenreid, an elections liaison for the board, said about a quarter of the names on the project’s list don’t actually correspond with deceased voters.

“They were using what I would characterize as some fuzzy matching,” she said.

She said the state is still in the process of removing about 20 to 25 percent of the voters that were identified as dead on the project’s list.

To verify if individuals on the project’s list are deceased, counties are working with local registers of deeds offices and contacting family members of listed voters.

Of the 676 names the Wake County Board of Elections received from the project, 105 active voters could not be identified, said Gary Sims, deputy director of the Wake County Board of Elections, in an email.

Letters were sent to the families of those individuals to confirm their status.

As of Friday, 47 of those active voters had confirmed their eligibility to vote.

In large counties, such as Wake, it is common for multiple voters to share the same name and date of birth.

The project mistakenly identified some of these voters, who shared a name with a deceased voter, as being dead, said Jay DeLancy, executive director of the Voter Integrity Project.

He noted that there were 46 people named Carolyn Perry in Wake County.

“There is a voter on the roll named Carolyn Perry who is dead, and she is still registered to vote,” he said.

DeLancy admitted that there is room for human error based on unknown factors but added that he is confident the project accurately identified more deceased voters than the state board.

“When you think about it, the state said they only found two-thirds of what we found,” he said. “So if we found a thousand more than they found, than what does that make us look like?”

Contact the desk editor at state@dailytarheel.com.

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