FACT CHECK: No, A Michigan Man Who Died In 1984 Did Not Vote In The 2020 Election

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims a Michigan man named William Bradley, who died in 1984, voted by mail in the 2020 election.

Verdict: False

The deceased man mentioned did not cast a vote. A clerical error was made and then corrected concerning a ballot cast by his son, who shares the same name. Votes cast in the name of dead individuals do not count, according to Michigan election officials.

Fact Check:

The video appears to be a screen recording of someone looking up the status of his absentee ballot. Information for a man named William Bradley, born in 1902, is entered and the results seem to show that his absentee ballot had been received. (RELATED: Video Falsely Claims To Show ‘Ballot Stuffing’ In Michigan)

“For those who don’t believe in voter fraud,” the video’s caption reads. “This is nuts. William Bradley a 118 year old dead person apparently voted via absentee ballot in Wayne County Michigan. Bradley died in 1984. How long has this scam been going on?”

However, no ballots cast by a William Bradley who died in 1984 were counted in the election. Daniel Baxter, an election consultant for the Detroit Department of Elections, told Politifact and other fact-checking outlets, that no ballot for a 118-year-old William Bradley counted in the election and the confusion was caused by a clerical error.

“No ballot for the 118-year-old Mr. Bradley was ever requested, received or counted,” Baxter said. “A man with a nearly identical name requested a ballot and voted properly in both the primary and general elections. When his ballot was initially logged, however, it was incorrectly attributed to the William Bradley born 118 years ago through a clerical error.”

Check your Fact found that a younger William Tarnell Bradley, seemingly the deceased William Bradley’s son, lives in the same house that his father did. The still-living William Bradley told Politifact that he received and cast a ballot for himself, and while he also received one for the dead William Bradley, he threw it away.

Tracy Wimmer, the direct of media relations for the Michigan secretary of state, told Check Your Fact in an email that “ballots of voters who have died are rejected in Michigan even if the voter cast an absentee ballot and then died before Election Day.”

“On rare occasions, a ballot received for a living voter may be recorded in a way that makes it appear as if the voter is dead,” Wimmer explained. “This can be because of voters with similar names, where the ballot is accidentally recorded as voted by John Smith Sr when it was actually voted by John Smith Jr; or because of inaccurately recorded birth dates in the qualified voter file; for example, someone born in 1990 accidentally recorded as born in 1890. In such scenarios, no one ineligible has actually voted, and there is no impact on the outcome of the election. Local clerks can correct the issue when it is brought to their attention.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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