Studs Turkel died yesterday. If he voted absentee ,should it count? Should we count votes of the dead?
Whether it should or not as a matter of principle, as a practical matter it’s too much of a hassle to attempt to remove ballots from the system for cases of people dying after they legitimately cast their vote. It’s not like there’s a huge number of them, anyway. And returning to the matter of principle, you could argue either way. Leave well enough alone.
I agree. Ethically, it’s a gray area. But I think that if his vote was legally cast, in full accordance with all election laws, then you have to count it. If a person cast a vote on Nov. 4th in a traditional voting booth and dropped dead of a heart attack on his way out the door, you’d count it, wouldn’t you?
I don’t see why not. Dead people have been voting in New Jersey for decades.
I would be astounded if, of all places, Chicago had a rule against dead people voting.
Any method which succeeded in making his vote not count would mean there’s a way to identify his vote & tell it from yours or mine. Which means our votes would have to be non-anonymous.
That’s probably not an idea we want to encourage.
I don’t know how widespread this is, but if he had voted by absentee* ballot in Orange County, California,** he would have had to print and sign his name on the outside of the envelope.
- or whatever they’re calling it these days.
** which he obviously did not.
Assuming he was alive when his ballot was cast, of course it should count. If I went and voted early yesterday and then fell over dead today, it would still be a legitimate vote. Similarly, if I voted on election day, left the little booth, and then fell over dead, it’s still a legitimate vote.
Tampering with votes that have already been cast is generally discouraged.
Moving to GD from GQ.
General Qustions Moderator
Voting via absentee ballot is similar, IMO, to early voting, for cases like this. If someone casts their vote early (legally), and then dies the next day, then of course it should be counted.
Only if the person died while filling out the form, or while on their way to the ballot box, could I justify not counting their vote.
Unsurprisingly, it seems to vary by state. Here’s an article from 2004 on the subject. From the article:
I caught a snippet of an NPR story this morning, I believe they reported that his absentee ballot arrived in the mail the day of his death. So, the question might be–did he vote at all?
Obviously, he voted. The question is, does it count in that state.
Can’t get much more absent than he is now…
Generally, absentee ballots are put inside an envelope, which is marked with the voters name & voting precinct (so they can be sent to the proper precinct to be counted). The ballot inside is not identified, so once it is removed from the envelope, it is anonymous.
Wait, do we actually know if he filled out and mailed the form?
So Grampaw Brown, 85, proudly walks to the polls on Election Day, goes back home, has a big dinner, gets up from the table, keels over and dies. His vote counts, yes?
Same principle: at the time set aside for submitting one’s vote, one casts a valid ballot. That one dies at some near-future time thereafter does not affect the validity of one’s vote.
FYI: Our locality uses dual envelopes for absentee ballots. The outer one has the voter id info. The inner doesn’t have any identifying information.
So, receive ballot. Check validity of info on outer ballot. Remove inner envelope and put in huge pile of other envelopes. When time to count, open all inner envelopes, copy all ballots by hand since idjit election officials didn’t bother to test the scannability of absentee ballots before sending them out*, switch votes to the party that runs all this mess, etc.
We have a far bigger problem than a few dead voters.
*Why they are copying by hand the ballots rather than just counting them is a mystery to one and all.
Well IMO it ought to count unless you can actually prove that someone else made the vote using the absentee ballet which was requested by the deceased.
What matters is the procedural integrity of the registration and electoral process, and fidelity to the intent of the voter within that process. I don’t think you ought to try to take-back a validly cast vote because of a subsequent death. The difference between an absentee voter dying Nov 1 or Nov 4 or Nov 5 seems entirely arbitrary to me and shouldn’t determine whether that preference counts.
I also think we ought not to be inviting tampering with votes which have been cast - as it is extremely worrisome to me given what we already know about the lack of qualms of certain political interest groups in purging and disenfranchising voters.
But the question also raises interesting philosophical questions about legacy preferences too. How sensible is it, for example, to take the common expression of such and such “turning in their grave” or to honour someone’s memory with our actions, if we have a materialist conception of life?
This is obviously one of those matters where the state law permitting early voting [del]should[/del] must specifically address the question of what to do if an early voter passes on before Election Day. It looks like some states have addressed the issue. Doubtless, others have not, your average State Legislator being about as intelligent as a jackalope.