This question was inspired by Donald Trump's claims about Hillary's supposed illegitimate votes, but is not about those claims.

Suppose I had cast my vote last year in an early ballot. Between then and the election, I died. Would my vote still be counted? If the answer is "it depends", then on what? Make no assumptions about what state I'm in.

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    This question is state dependent; the routing of death certificate and how individuals are removed from the rolls of registered voters impacts the answer. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 4:50
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    @DrunkCynic You can't know it's state dependent until you know the answer.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 15:52
  • @corsiKa voting registration laws are controlled by the state. States don't necessarily have the same laws; the answer is state dependent. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 18:22
  • @drunk Someone who knows that probably isn't asking the question without such information. Your comment is a poorly disguised answer.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 19:06
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    @corsiKa Well researched questions lead to better answers. politics.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-ask Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 19:09

2 Answers 2


It depends on the state you are registered to vote.

There's an article I came across about this, you can read the whole article since it includes examples too.

The answer depends mostly on where the voter is registered, because American election laws and procedures are for the most part determined by the individual states, even in elections for federal office. In New York, for example, an absentee ballot can be challenged on the grounds that the voter died before Election Day (in-person early voting is not available in New York). Minnesota, which has both early voting and absentee voting, allows for a challenge in both cases if proof is presented to an election judge that a voter died before 7 AM on Election Day.

But most states do count the votes of the recently deceased, according to the bi-partisan National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), an NGO that tracks US state election laws. In the case of Florida, state law spells it out clearly: "The ballot of an elector who casts an absentee ballot shall be counted even if the elector dies on or before Election Day."

(emphasis mine)

Basically for those states that counts it, it's because your vote is cast the moment you cast your vote. So, regardless of what happens, the vote is still cast and decided by you.

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    Can this really be true that in some states your vote can be cancelled? That means that they must have a way to relate your vote to the person voting, which implies your vote is not anonymous. Are votes not anonymous in the US?
    – fishinear
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 14:42
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    @fishinear: Not sure about the US in particular, but in many countries there's a serial number on the ballot paper, which can be matched up against the same serial number on a separate record to establish identity and eligibility to vote. It's the only direct defense against the purest form of ballot-stuffing (adding fake votes not associated with any eligible voter). Legally it probably requires a court order to bring the two records together to match them up but yes, a government acting illegally could de-anonymise the ballot. Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 15:50
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    Absentee ballots can't be anonymous until accepted, as they are generally mailed. So think of the ballot as being in a double envelope. The outer envelope says that it's the @fishinear ballot. When the ballot is accepted, the inner envelope can be mixed with others. But until then, they haven't restricted access to the vote. So without that, you could vote an arbitrary number of times.
    – Brythan
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 15:55
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    @fishinear If you vote in person then it is completely anonymous. For early/absentee ballots that you mail in they can be challenged in some situations. But I think the challenge has to happen before they are opened and counted. Your name is still attached to it at that point since they need to verify you are an eligible voter.
    – Dan
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 15:56
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    @fishinear In many cases, mail-in ballots and in-person Provisional ballots are kept inside sealed envelopes that identify the voter, and are not even opened unless and until their total number equals/exceeds the margin of victory. At that point, the challenges are resolved, and the ID info removed from the envelopes or the envelopes opened and ballots extracted in a way such that no one can read the ballot inside until the ballots are put into stacks that anonymize them. (done before witnesses of all parties on the ballot) Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 16:14

Would my vote still be counted?

yes, because your vote should be counted when you voted (legally).

the claims about dead voters are more about voters who died years ago but remained on the voter roll and allegedly continued to vote since then.

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