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Brooklyn bishop still an ‘active voter’ 22 years after death - Brooklyn Paper

Brooklyn bishop still an ‘active voter’ 22 years after death

Cloth and collar: Left, Beloved Brooklyn Bishop Francis Mugavero greets, center, Dodgers manager Tommy LaSorda at the Columbus Citizens Foundation Dinner months before the bishop’s passing.
AP / Bebeto Matthews

Brooklyn’s late bishop has found eternal life — on the New York State voter rolls.

Former Diocese of Brooklyn Bishop Francis Mugavero died in 1991, but according to the Board of Elections he remains an active voter — despite the Church’s efforts to get his registration cancelled.

Both city and state records have the deceased Catholic leader registered as an “active” — meaning his name appears in the poll book each Election Day — even though records show he last cast a ballot in 1989.

Church officials say they continue to receive Board of Elections mail for the Bishop at his former Clinton Hill residence — despite having sent letters and a copy of Mugavero’s death certificate to the agency.

“We get the material, and we keep saying ‘he’s dead,’ ” said Brooklyn Diocese spokesman Kieran Harrington, who now lives at the Bishop’s former home. “And every year I go to vote, his signature’s still there on the roll.”

Harrington said that this year Board of Elections even sent updated polling site information to Mugavero — but not to him.

“I found out where I was supposed to vote from his mail,” he said.

Harrington said he found the failure to remove Mugavero from the rolls disturbing — especially since the state law only requires voters to reproduce a signature beneath the one in the register.

“When people who are deceased are on the voter rolls for over 20 years, it indicates there’s a problem,” Father Harrington said. “This is one of the fundamentals of our democracy, and it’s clearly not maintained.”

A Board of Elections spokesman told us that it would have sent Mugavero a notice asking him to confirm his residence after he failed to vote in two consecutive federal election cycles — and would continue to list him as an active voter unless the Post Office returned the notice as undeliverable.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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