Vote here? Washingtonians did — and elected a dead man to their state legislature

Vote here? Washingtonians did — and elected a dead man to their state legislature

Rumors of Roger Freeman’s death have not been exaggerated. The Democratic incumbent in the Washington state legislature shuffled off this mortal coil at the end of October. But that didn’t stop voters in the 30th District, which Freeman represented, from reelecting him in last night’s midterm.

The Washington Post reports:

Around 15 percent of the district’s voters had already mailed in their ballots, and at the end of Election night he had a six-point-lead over his Republican opponent, Jack Dovey.

The death was so recent that most voters were simply unaware that it had happened, and voted for the incumbent or on a party line. Local news station KVAL spoke to one such person on Tuesday night.

Since Freeman will be unable to serve his term, the two counties that make up his district will select a temporary legislator from three possible choices offered by local Democrats. A special election will then be held next year.

The Post goes on to note that voting for “people whose hearts no longer thump to the beat of democracy,” as author Jaime so Fuller lyrically puts it, is more commonplace than most of us realize.

Last year, Oregon voters elected a man to the Aberdeen City Council five months after he died. Missouri elected a dead man who was running unopposed to serve as county commissioner in 2010. Three weeks before the 2000 election, Missouri Gov. Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash. When he won a Senate race against John Ashcroft, his widow was appointed to take his place.

Hackensack High School Principal Joseph DeFalco died after the polls had opened in 2005, and was elected to the city council for a four-year term he could not complete, or even start. In 1998, a dead woman, Jacquelyn Morrow Lewis Ledgerwood, made it to a run-off in the Oklahoma Senate’s Democratic primary.

Just so readers understand that the dead vote is a two-way street, it should be noted that the state of Virginia in 2013 had 2,200 voters on its rolls who were either dead or for some other reason ineligible to vote. That same year, Kentucky allowed an undetermined number of dead people to sign up for Obamacare, and millions in U.S. farm subsidies were awarded to dead farmers.

(h/t Weasel Zippers)

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Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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