Hundreds of thousands of people in Colorado have already voted in this year’s election, which ends on Tuesday. This raises the question: If an individual votes, and dies before election day, would their vote still count?
According to Jack Todd, communications director for the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, the answer is yes. The vote will still count. This type of event is extremely rare, however, and is not recorded by the Secretary of State’s Office, says Todd.
Colorado does not have a statute explicitly prohibiting the counting of these ballots; therefore, they’re still counted because they were cast by living registered voters, according to Todd.
States across the country take differing approaches to counting ballots cast by people who become deceased before election day.
Some states, such as Montana and Massachusetts, have statutes explicitly stating that ballots count if they’re cast before Election Day, even if voters die after they cast their ballots but before the election ends.
States such as Illinois and New Hampshire have laws prohibiting the counting of the ballots of people who died after voting.
Conservative election conspiracists make baseless claims about votes cast by dead people who remain on the voting rolls. While no dead person can cast a ballot, and the conspiracies remain evidence-free, it’s rare but true that a vote can be traced back to a person who’s dead — and if not still warm close to it.