Action News Investigation: Voting from the Grave

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) —

The key to one of the most contentious presidential elections in history could be right here in the Keystone state.

Republican candidate Donald Trump has made allegations of fraud at polls in the City of Philadelphia.

So, Action News dug through a decade’s worth of election and death records to see if there was any truth to the claim.

Some of what Action News investigation found was stunning.

Rita A. Pezzano, who passed a decade ago, was found listed as an active voter. Her daughter-in-law was shocked when we shared the news.

“I was about seven months pregnant when she died,” said Audrey Marchiano.

“So she has been dead about 10 years now?” asked Investigative Reporter Wendy Saltzman.

“Yes,” said Marchiano.

Pezzano passed in 2006. But state voting records show the South Philadelphia native still listed as an “Active Voter” who cast ballots in 2008, 2012, 2014, and the 2016 primary election.

Wendy Saltzman asked Marchiano if there was any way Pezzano could have voted in 2016.

“Not if she was dead,” Marchiano replied. “So no.”

Our investigation also found Joseph B. Haggarty resting peacefully in a Bucks County cemetery. His grave marker confirmed he died in 2010, but records show he voted five years after his death.

“Any chance he voted in 2015?” Wendy Saltzman asked a neighbor.

“I’m sure he didn’t, personally. God rest his soul, he’s long gone,” he replied.

Action News also found Paul Bunch, who died in 2006, also cast a vote in this year’s primary which was nearly ten years after death records show he died.

Wendy Saltzman asked Bunch’s former neighbor if that seemed impossible.

“I believe so. It sounds like it, unless he is coming back from the dead,” he said.

Action News also visited the former neighborhood of Concetta Gallara. Records show she died in 2009, but voted in 2013.

When asked if there was a way Gallara could have voted, her former neighbor Jeanie Pizzo told Saltzman, “I don’t know, it’s awfully funny. Unless a dead person came out of their grave.”

Action News took our findings to election watchdog, The Committee of Seventy.

President and CEO David Thornburgh said, “There’s going to be some error and some level of petty fraud and we should have no tolerance for that.”

We also asked Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, who is a Republican, about our findings. His office is in charge of overseeing Philadelphia’s elections.

“It is certainly an irregularity, there is no doubt about that,” Schmidt said.

Commissioner Schmidt’s…

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