Despite two attempts on her life by the Florida Division of Elections, College Park resident Connie Smith, 61, still insists she’s not dead yet.
Smith first received notice of her death from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections in 2008. It took her six months to convince them that these rumors were greatly exaggerated. Meanwhile, the Florida Division of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles caught wind of her demise and invalidated her driver license, and the Social Security Administration started asking her family about the reports of her death. She eventually had to have the Florida Department of Health send her a “non-death” certificate (this is a thing?). State officials told Smith — full name ”Constance Slate Smith” — that the 2008 mix-up was due to the death of a Constance Simmons Smith in Miami.
But last Friday, four years after first proving she wasn’t dead, possible-zombie Connie Smith again received a letter from the Orange County Supervisor of Elections office. ”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,” it said.
“I opened it up, I cried,” Smith said (in frustration, we presume, not because she actually thought she was dead. Because that would just be weird).
The latest error may have been intiated by the Social Security Administration. The SSA shares its data with the Florida Division of Elections, which uses the information to create a so-called “death list” it sends to counties with instructions to purge the names.
Linda Tanko, deputy supervisor of elections for Orange County apologized for the error. “I’ve already taken the steps to get her straight on the books,” Tanko said. “But I’m only as good as the next death list that comes down” from Tallahassee. Aren’t we all, Linda, aren’t we all. Wait, what?
To be fair, Florida does have a lot of almost-dead people. But still. Floridians can’t even be bothered to confirm whether their own governor is alive. Last month brought news that Gov. Rick Scott had previously been mistaken for dead in 2006 by a local elections office in Naples. It was Richard E. Scott – not Richard Lynn Scott – who had died.
Apparently Smith’s case would have been even easier to sleuth out, though. A few weeks ago, the elections office sent Smith a request to update her signature. She complied and requested an absentee ballot. She then received her absentee ballot on Friday, the same day as the notice of her death.
Seriously, Florida, get your act together. It’s almost November.