They're Back! Ballot Box Ghouls Haunt 2004 Election

Oct 30, 2004, 01:00 ET from Aristotle International

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- This year Halloween comes just two
 days before the fiercely contested election which in many jurisdictions will
 feature touch screen voting and no paper trail -- perfect for ghosts, goblins
 and ghouls.  And oddly appropriate because in nearly all states there are many
 thousands of voters listed as eligible and poised to cast their ballots but
 who are in fact -- dead.  Campaigns that acquired voter files early in the
 election year should be aware that they will need a seance to reach some
     This year in the spirit of an especially highly charged Halloween,
 Aristotle's ghost busters have put the "Deadwood Game" online.  At the website
 ( a visitor can go to the upper tab, "Voter and
 Contributor Lists", click on "Deadwood" to select a state, then try to
 correctly guess the percent of the state's voters who have joined the choir
 invisible, passed to the great beyond, are gone to meet their Maker, mingling
 with the moles: in a word, Kaput.
     As a matter of public policy no local authority would eliminate the name
 of a citizen who may in fact be eligible and able to vote or spend precious
 resources on hiring the technical staff, costly state-of-the-art equipment to
 do time-consuming and expensive roll cleaning.  Moreover, through no fault of
 their own, local jurisdictions are legally unable to synchronize their records
 with all other jurisdictions in order to determine which citizens have
 shuffled off their mortal coil.  They simply can't just take a broom to the
 voter rolls and sweep them clean of the dead since most Americans are unable
 or unwilling to share their bereavement news with their various governments As
 a result, many thousands of ghost voters still haunt the rolls in nearly every
 jurisdiction.  In the current contentious and suspicion-filled election
 season, the Aristotle RIP file had become an especially useful metric of
 accuracy in projecting what ghostly results we can expect at the polls.  On
 the other hand, some journalists will see this phenomenon as a clue to the
 identities of the undecided voters that populate the baffling daily polling
 reports from key states.
     Aristotle International, the principal nonpartisan voter data and software
 provider to US political campaigns, has tabulated the percent of "ghost
 voters" in each of many selected states -- in some instances, down to the
 county level.  For more than a decade, Aristotle has been ghost-busting in
 order to provide the most accurate voter data to campaigns and the press.
 Known in the past as the "RIP" files (from the Latin tombstone inscription:
 requiescat in pace -- may he/she rest in peace), these voter tabulations are
 the most current and extensive available anywhere, and far more so than in any
 prior election.
     Thoughtful reflections on this issue may be heard at the website, from
 respected journalist, Charles Kuralt -- make that the late Charles Kuralt ...
     A notice from Aristotle International going out by Sunday -- which is
 Halloween, to its national customer base reads in part, " ... Did you know
 that "Deadwood" -- registered voters who have moved or passed away, tops a
 staggering 25% of the voter rolls in some counties.
     To determine exactly how much deadwood there is on your community's voter
 rolls, go to your account at
     Using lists from the US government and US Postal Service, we've
 "undertaken" to identify and remove deceased voters and those who have moved.
     We've also updated listed phone numbers for every living voter in your
     This insures your GOTV calls and walk lists only include the names of
 voters who are here, not in the hereafter ... "

SOURCE Aristotle International