06/19/2012 04:26 pm ET

Dead Dog In Virginia Receives Voter Registration Forms

Mozart is one dog who will not have his day.

The family canine from Bedford County, Va., will be absent at polls on Election Day, despite an encouraging note owner Tim Morris found in his mailbox last week.

On a medium-sized envelope, a picture of a Sticky Note read, "Mo Morris -- Please fill in boxes 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and 7."

It turns out "Mo," as Morris once called him, was recently targeted by the Voter Participation Center, a nonprofit organization that buys mailing lists and sends voter registration forms predominantly to young people, minorities and unmarried women.

"I opened it up and looked at it and I just laughed," Morris told WSLS 10, a local news channel. "I thought it was a joke at first and it turns out it's real."

Mo has been dead for two years, but Morris said the dog would have celebrated his 18th birthday last year, a milestone that would mark any human's first turn at voting in the November elections.

Although the voter outreach to Mo the dog was unintentional, a New Mexico man used his own pet for a more purposeful test of voter fraud earlier this year.

Albuquerque resident Thomas Tolbert registered his dog Buddy to vote after grabbing a registration card from a booth on the University of New Mexico campus in March. Tolbert, a Republican, said he wanted to see how easy it would be to register the dog -- specifically as a Democrat.

County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver was not amused by Tolbert's stunt, according to the Albuquerque Journal. She reminded anyone who thought such tricks are a "joke or 'gotcha'" that they were engaging in voter fraud and themselves breaking the law.

Potential voter fraud tales such as those shared by Morris and Tolbert have become the centerpiece of some Republicans' pushes for a national voter ID law.

"We have seen plenty of examples of people lying about who they are, and convicted felons, dead people, and illegal immigrants voting," Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) said Tuesday in a news release unveiling the Federal Elections Integrity Act.

The proposed law would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID before voting in federal elections.

In the news release, Walsh claimed that voter fraud is a "real issue" in the country, but opponents say there is little evidence to suggest it extends beyond sensational anecdotes like those of Mo and Buddy.

Actual offenses are "more rare than getting struck by lightning," according a 2007 report by the Brennan Center for Justice. The center says voter fraud occurs at a rate of 0.0004 percent, or 1 in every 250,000 people.