DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Official voter registration applications have been showing up in the mailboxes of thousands of Texans.
The problem is some applications were sent to people who have been dead for decades.
“I just said this can’t be real,” said Ola Allen of Dallas.
Allen received a voter registration application in the mail addressed to her husband, Eroy. He died nearly three years ago.
She also received an application for her mother who died two years ago.
Allen initially chalked it up to an honest mistake, but then she received another voter registration application. This one Allen said was inexcusable and hurtful. It was addressed to her daughter Karen.
“I just set it down because I lost it. I really lost it,” Allen explained.
Karen is Allen’s youngest daughter. She died when she was 21 years old in 1989.
“My daughter has been gone 20-plus years and this doesn’t do a thing but open up an old wound for me,” Allen said.
The applications, which included a paid for return stamped envelope addressed the Texas Secretary of State, were sent out by the Texas Democratic Party.
A party spokesperson told the CBS 11 I-Team, the applications were a part of an “unprecedented investment to provide eligible Texans with the opportunity to vote.“
Texas Democratic Party Deputy Executive Director Manny Garcia said the state party purchased large complicated data sets in an effort to reach unregistered voters. These data sets, he explained, are often imperfect.
“In Texas, churches, clubs, community organizations, nonprofits, political parties and campaigns are left to use imperfect data to overcome cumbersome voter registration obstacles,” Garcia said in a written statement. “Unfortunately, Texas’ Republican government is anti-voter. After years of voting rights court cases and ranking last in country for voter turnout, it is clear that Republicans have done everything in their power to make it harder for eligible Texans to vote.”
State Republicans said making the claim that they are anti-voter is “utterly abhorrent.”
In a written statement, Texas Republican Chairman James Dickey said, “We believe our right to vote is the foundation of our country and encourage all who are eligible to do so… However, what Republicans stand for is restoring integrity to the voter registration rolls and reducing voter fraud. That is why we believe that voters should show proof of residency and citizenship along with their voter registration application.”
The Texas Secretary of State’s office said it has received several complaints of applications sent by the Texas Democratic Party to dead relatives and to people who are not U.S. citizens.
Sending out voter registration applications is legal and something both political parties do.
The Texas Secretary of State’s office said it has safeguards in place to ensure this does not result in voter fraud.
All applications that come into the state’s office are cross-referenced with the Social Security Administration’s list of people who have died.
Last month, Texas crossed off more than 9,000 names from the voter rolls because the voters were no longer alive.
Allen said she was not worried about voter fraud when she received the applications for her dead family members in the mail.
She said she is, however, worried about what this error says about the state of the country’s politics.
“Any means that it takes to get to the top that’s what I am going to do. That’s what this tells me,” Allen said holding the applications. “I just hope whoever sends these out will think about what they are doing.”