For years, South Carolina Republicans have complained about the names of dead voters being used to cast ballots in a broad voter fraud scheme. Now that a recent report by the State Law Enforcement Division has blown up those claims, unable to find a single example of a "zombie voter" committing fraud, one Democrat is demanding that Gov. Nikki Haley (R) apologize for her party's "bogus" crusade.
In a statement released Monday, House Democratic Leader Todd Rutherford accused Haley and other Republicans of deliberately and deceptively pushing false claims for political gain.
"Now we have the proof that shows that the accusations of voter fraud were completely without merit," said Rutherford. "And once again, South Carolina's taxpayers have to foot the bill for the millions of dollars unnecessarily spent as a result of Governor Haley and her colleagues' incompetence and blind-ideology."
Rutherford went on to call for Haley and Republicans to "acknowledge that they were being dishonest about voter fraud" and to "apologize to the public."
For months, state Republicans highlighted a report from DMV director and Haley appointee Kevin Shwedo that claimed a review of state records had determined around 950 dead people might have voted in the 2010 election. While Shwedo admitted that reporting errors could have led to the discrepancy, the GOP suggested that the identities had been assumed to commit voter fraud, a possibility that was used to bolster controversial voter ID legislation in the state.
After SLED's report, it turns out that non-malicious errors were ultimately to blame for the DMV numbers. In a statement released in response to Rutherford's attack, however, Haley spokesperson Rob Godfrey said that voter ID was still important, despite the failure of Republican voter fraud complaints to pan out.
"No matter what kind of distractions, rhetoric, or lawsuits have come from opponents of voter ID, the truth is it has always been about one thing and one thing only -- securing the electoral process," he said, according to WIS-TV. "It's a shame to see Democrats like Todd Rutherford continue to oppose simple measures like showing a picture ID to vote, measures that make sure those who are eligible to vote do vote, and those who aren't don't."
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