Constance Slate Smith is one of Florida’s living dead–twice over. Florida election officials continue to bump Smith off the state voter rolls because they believe she is deceased.
Yet the 61-year-old College Park resident is not a zombie rising up to cast her vote in the November election – she’s very much alive, going so far as to get a “non-death” certificate from the Florida Department of Health as proof to show state agencies.
The most recent letter from election officials arrived in the mail last week, along with the absentee ballot she requested from the state. Smith read the letter via phone to ABC News: “This letter is to inform you that the person named above has been removed from the Orange County vote rolls after we received notification of their death.”
Smith, who also received notice of her death in 2008, when she volunteering for the Obama campaign, said she was overcome with frustration. State election officials told her in 2008 that her identity had been mistaken for the late Constance Simmons Smith of Miami, who was born on the same day as the living Constance Smith.
“For a short while, I sat down and cried. I can’t believe I had to go through all this again,” Smith said.
County election officials told the Orlando Sentinel that the current mix up may have been caused by the Social Security Administration, which shares its data with the Florida Division of Elections and put Smith on the “death list” which it sends to local election offices.
Last time around, Smith had to contact several state agencies to verify that she was not dead, a bureaucratic nightmare that took six months to rectify. But it’s not just her voter status – the Department of Motor Vehicles cancelled her driver’s license, and now she has been notified that her Social Security information may be compromised.
Florida’s efforts to clean up its voter rolls are the source of controversy in the state, as eligible citizens have come forward to say they have been mistakenly removed from the rolls.
Not even Florida’s governor is immune to the death list. Gov. Rick Scott was declared dead by the Naples local election office in 2006. They actually meant Richard E. Scott, who also shared a birthday with the Republican governor.