Ken Kalthoff, NBC 5 News
Fears of voter fraud are fueled over revelations that there may be 9,000 dead people on Dallas County voter rolls. Those names can't be removed until after the November election.
Dallas County could have as many as more than 9,000 dead people registered as voters, but the county's election supervisor says they cannot be removed until after the November election.
Federal law forbids changing the voter roll within 60 days of a federal election, a deadline that has already passed, said Election Supervisor Toni Pippins-Poole.
Pippins-Poole said the Texas secretary of state did not provide the list of possible deceased voters from Social Security records until late August.
The election office must send a letter to each name on the list to be sure person is not alive. Pippins-Poole said the state did not allow her office enough time to complete the process.
Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Wade Emmert said it creates an opportunity for voter fraud.
"These voter registration cards are tickets to vote," he said. "Without voter ID, if you have one of these cards, they can't confirm you are who you claim to be."
A Texas law to require picture identification for voters at the polls has been struck down in court. The Republican attorney general is fighting to have it upheld.
But Dallas County Democratic Party Chairwoman Darlene Ewing said Republican concerns about fraudulent use of dead people's voter registration cards are overblown.
"It's just a total red herring to justify their oppressive voter-suppression laws; that's all it is," she said.
Ewing said there has been no proof of widespread voter fraud to support a Texas voter ID law.
"They have yet to document there's a problem with people impersonating dead people," she said. "It just doesn't happen on a regular basis."
Ewing said the court found the laws would discriminate against minority voters who may have less access to picture identification.
State and county election officials have less time to prepare for the November election after the primary election season ran into the summer because of delays from redistricting lawsuits.
Pippins-Poole said culling the voter rolls should have started in June or July.
"If the secretary of state was so concerned, they should have done it early in the summer," Ewing said. "It's very time-intensive."
Emmert agreed that the compressed election season makes the job harder but said doing nothing to review the voter list is irresponsible.
"To not do the job at all will result in these kind of cards floating around where anybody can get to them, anybody can use them," he said.