Vote early then die? House bill says those ballots count

Posted June 19, 2014

Early voting sticker

— The House Elections Committee approved a bill Thursday protecting the votes of people who pass away between casting an early ballot and Election Day, when that vote is officially counted.

House Bill 1267, the Everette Harris Act, is named for the father of 2014 U.S. Senate candidate Mark Harris, who lost in the Republican primary.

The elder Harris mailed in his absentee ballot in early April, during the early mail-in voting period, but passed away April 17, before May 6 primary.

Under current law, if an early voter dies before Election Day, his or her ballot can be challenged on that account.  Such ballots are rarely challenged, but when they are, they are usually disqualified because, by state law, a voter must be qualified to vote as of Election Day. 

Everette Harris' ballot was challenged by a Democratic voter in Forsyth County. The county elections board sustained the challenge, and the ballot was left uncounted. 

The proposal adds language to the voting statute that says, "The death of the voter is not grounds for challenge of an absentee ballot if the voter was alive at the time of casting the ballot."

Supporters of the change say it will protect mail-in voters as well as overseas and active military voters.

The measure passed the committee with little debate, but one critic says it will encourage fraud. 

"We extend our deepest sympathy for Mark Harris for the loss of his father, but this bill will re-energize the practice of stealing votes from dead people by making detection more difficult," voting fraud activist Jay Delancy said in a statement. 

The bill heads to the House floor Thursday afternoon.


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  • Ty Shrake Jun 20, 2014
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    They weren't dead when they voted.

    The same cannot be said of many Democratic Party voters.

  • Bogged Down Jun 20, 2014

    I plan to go ahead and cast all my votes for the next 85 years just so I know they'll be counted. Thanks GOP!

  • Bogged Down Jun 20, 2014

    Hurray! Dead white guys will have their vote counted, but minorities in the state will have to try harder if they want their vote counted.

  • goldenosprey Jun 20, 2014

    If corporations are people, why not cadavers?

    Registered living voters without the right form of ID? They're less thans.

  • sisu Jun 19, 2014

    I don't care all that much either way but to me it doesn't make sense to count the vote of someone who is not longer alive on election day.

  • Atheistinafoxhole Jun 19, 2014

    Haha! I can't wait for the "unintended consequences" to start. It's going to be more difficult for the GOP to claim that it's illegal for dead people to vote - because now it's technically legal.

  • A person Jun 19, 2014

    It is the votes by people who died before their vote was cast that the problem lies with, not the ones who were actually alive when they cast their votes

  • me2nc Jun 19, 2014

    I guess I don't see the issue here. If you vote during an election period, and you are a US Citizen with voting rights, your vote should count. End of story. What happens after is irrelevant.

  • thinkin out loud Jun 19, 2014

    I have no problem with this bill. What if I were terminally sick and didn't know if I was going to make till election day but cared enough to want to vote. If I was alive on the date it was received by the BOE it should count. If I mailed it and died before the BOE got it then no it should not count. If I early voted in person it should count.

  • teleman60 Jun 19, 2014

    View quoted thread

    There's an argument to be made that the voter "MUST BE ALIVE AT THE TIME THE VOTE IS COUNTED" or the vote is invalid. The citizen no longer exists as a participant in the democratic process thus the vote serves no purpose.

    Just sayin"...