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Do Votes Expire If Voter Does?
News Bytes 10/22/2020 47 Comments

Candidates, issues, ballots—voting is on everyone’s minds these days. Here’s a different topic making the rounds: Should a ballot count if someone votes early but dies before Election Day? The question is especially pressing this year as coronavirus concerns have voters voting early or by mail.

Hannah Carson wasted no time returning her absentee ballot for this year’s election. As soon as it arrived at her senior living home, the 90-year-old filled it out and returned it. If something were to happen and she doesn’t make it to Election Day, Carson hopes her ballot will remain valid.

But in North Carolina, a ballot cast by someone who later dies might not be counted—if someone files an official challenge before Election Day.

It’s all a bit confusing.

Carson doesn’t hesitate. “I should think I should count, given all the years I have been here,” she says.

Questions over counting a ballot cast by someone who dies before Election Day are ramping up. That’s partly because the global pandemic has been especially dangerous for older Americans, the group with the highest voting rate.

As it stands now, 17 states bar counting ballots cast by someone who dies before the election. Ten states specifically allow it. And the rest of the country? The law is silent, according to research by the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Even though a law might require such ballots to be rejected, some could still count—depending on when the person dies and when election officials find out about the death.

After all, it takes time for death records to be updated, and there is a narrow window between when a ballot is cast and counted.

In 2016, Colorado had 15-20 voters who cast ballots by mail and then died before Election Day. All were counted.

In Michigan’s primary this year, 864 ballots got rejected because the voters died before the election—even though they were alive when they filled them out.

Many experts say voter fraud is exceptionally rare.

“There have been umpteen examples of some group claiming a whole bunch of people casting ballots after they died,” says Justin Levitt, an election law expert. “These things don’t pan out.”

But fraud does happen. Levitt says such cases usually involves someone who wants to honor the wishes of a loved one who recently died. Knowingly or not, that person commits a crime by filling out a ballot for the dead person.

Wisconsin is a presidential battleground this year. It is among the states that prohibit a ballot from being counted if the voter dies after submitting it. Every month, the state’s election commission receives records of county death certificates, and those records are run against the statewide voter registration system.

But, says Reid Magney, Wisconsin Election Commission spokesman, “There’s no way to check every absentee ballot to make sure the voter hasn’t died since it was issued.”

Iowa’s election office receives death records and processes them as they are received, including on Election Day.

“Voters have to be eligible electors on Election Day,” says Kevin Hall, spokesman for Iowa’s secretary of state. “Even though Iowa had 29 days of absentee voting, there is still only one Election Day.”

Do you think votes should count if the voter dies between casting a ballot and Election Day? Why or why not?

(A ballot drop box sits ready to accept early ballots in Detroit. AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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Most recent comments

first comment

this is madness

2nd Comment

So confusing. Not sure what to think. There are pros and con both ways!

I think they should count.

I think they should count.

Random

Idk

Riley d there is pros and

Riley d there is pros and cons, I probably would count them I guess

Or idk. Never mind

Or idk. Never mind

@KN

I don't think they should count if the person dies before election day. People who aren't alive shouldn't have a say in how our country is run.

@KN

I don't think they should count if the person dies before election day. People who aren't alive shouldn't have a say in how our country is run.

LO

I think they should count

LO

I think they should count

???

why are there two?

I don’t think they should

I don’t think they should count because that person basically doesn’t live in that country any more and it wouldn’t make sense if they counted it.

@ Liam maybe you pressed save

@ Liam maybe you pressed save twice? I don’t know I’ll test it now.

@ Liam maybe you pressed save

@ Liam maybe you pressed save twice? I don’t know I’ll test it now.

@ Liam maybe you pressed save

@ Liam maybe you pressed save twice? I don’t know I’ll test it now.

Ooooof sorry about that

Ooooof sorry about that everyone I was testing to see if it printed the comment twice if you pressed save twice and I pressed it tree times and we’ll you know what happened next! Lol sorry
@liam well there’s your answer anyway lol

wow

wow

They Should....

....Not count because when people vote, they vote for future generations who will have to grow up with their choice. If a person dies, that means that they will not be there to deal with their choice. It's kinda like when an ancestor dies and you or your family are left with their belongings and debt. The people are already on their way out so why should they get to vote for something that will not affect them, but will affect their children and their children.

@ Everyone who disagrees with me

Yes, but if the person was alive for another week or two, they would be able to vote. But then they might die right after the election, rather than a few days before. So I don't see that it necessarily makes much difference.

I think it should count

It just seems right. For me at least, I don't know about what other people really think, nobody really talks about this. It's a good topic though.

21st comment P.S. This is Caro

I think they should count, but only if someone wrote their own ballot before they died, not if someone fills one out for them.

Hmmmm

Hmmmm

@Ethan K

LOL Ditto

Hi

I think that the votes should count.

This is London

Idc really I think I change my mind. Mirela I agree

I don't know what to think.

I don't know what to think.

Good topic, very debatable.

"Do you think votes should count if the voter dies between casting a ballot and Election Day? Why or why not?"

Yes. Because let's say I vote (just an example I'm too young to vote) and then the day before the votes are counted, I die in a accident. My vote should still count. Now, if someone has been dead for a long time then they shouldn't be getting ballots.

@NA

I agree!

i'm leaning more towards

i'm leaning more towards letting them count, but like the article says, it's complicated.
@Cheylyn D: that would be a reason to count them i think; because it would effect your children and grandchildren. if you care about them, you'd want them to have the president you think is best, weather or not you're alive.

@ Nadia - off topic

how's your book editing/ publishing coming? remember how you shared the 1st chapter on the "who owns O" ohio state article?

@Lily

Haha! I remember xD I finished that book!! But my editor....umm...well.....she got married and moved to Canada....so she can't edit it now....
So I got bored and wrote the next book in the series. I posted part of it on the voice of a storyteller article in people mover. Some friends are helping me edit it though!

How do you get to be able to

How do you get to be able to comment first? just wondering, like how every other article has comments and how you find one that doesn't ?

@ Above

You have to wake up early and wait till they post the article and then you have to hurry up and comment first. On November 2nd they will put all new articles up on all the topics and if you get up early you can get 1st comment on a lot of them.

Oh

Ok...this is confusing. I mean, if a voter dies they arn't in the country anymore and so the president isnt over them. But still...it is so right that they should count at the same time.
I wonder who wrote this article?

Oh

Ok...this is confusing. I mean, if a voter dies they arn't in the country anymore and so the president isnt over them. But still...it is so right that they should count at the same time.
I wonder who wrote this article?

So confused...

So confused...

@N&M A.

ok thanks ! :) I cant really do that because I have to ask one of my parents if I can go on . Thx anyway!

@ Above

Same, but I asked them the night before XD

@Brooke B

Yeah, it just depends on when you get on here, and even what time zone you are in. They post it in Eastern Time Zone, I live in Central, and usually get up at about 6:00. I do my typical stuff and then get on here. Sometimes I am first, sometimes not. It doesn't really matter to me though.

@ Nadia

okay, thanks! i'll check it out.

It should count.

It should count.

Sometimes I'm on at 3p.m. and

Sometimes I'm on at 3p.m. and I get 1st comment.

About 1st comment discussion

Lol when I first got world teen I got 1st comment on a lot of them but not so much now. Because of the time difference I can do it at 10am (uk time). Hehehe

@Mirela J

Yeah, you get a bonus there!!!! :D

@ Mirela

No fair Mirela! XD xD you have all the advantages.... LOL XDDDD

hahaha

lol

ok! thx haha

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