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Dallas County Will Not Purge Voter Names

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Andrea Lucia
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DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The “potentially deceased” voters of Dallas County can rest in peace, after a decision not to purge their names from the voter registry before the November election.

The Dallas County Elections Department mailed more than 800 letters, asking if the recipients were if they were dead. The letters warned a person could have their voter registration cancelled if they didn’t reply within 30 days.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, though, says the county will not be removing any possibly dead voters from the registry until after the November election.

“We don’t have a problem with zombies and dead people voting, but we do have a big problem with voter participation,” said Jenkins. “We don’t want to take any hasty action that results in people going in to vote and finding out that we have misinterpreted them as being dead.“

Dallas is now the second county to announce it will not follow a directive from the State Secretary’s Office, and it could face repercussions.

After Harris County registrar Don Sumners announced he would not remove any names being questioned by the state until after November, the state’s election director wrote a letter, accusing him of possibly violating state and federal laws and violating the integrity of the upcoming election. The letter also threatened the county could lose out on voter registration funds distributed by the state.

The sudden controversy comes as a surprise to State Representative Jim Jackson, of Carrollton. The state legislature almost unanimously passed his proposed bill last year to weed out dead voters from the state registry by cross checking it against social security records. “I don’t know anyone who disagrees we should have a honest, true voter roll,” he said.

But the fight over redistricting delayed the implementation of the program, and critics say there’s not enough time before the general election to sort through the lists of thousands of names before the presidential election.

“It’s not possible to do what the Secretary of State is asking and still protect everybody’s right to vote,” said Jenkins.

A spokesperson for the State Secretary, however, said any voters mistakenly removed from the voter rolls would immediately be reinstated once they prove they are, in fact, alive.

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