Ritchie: 27 ballots tossed after voters die

Twenty-seven ballots have been invalidated so far because the voter who cast an absentee ballot has since died, according to Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's office.

Every election cycle there are people who vote absentee and then die before Election Day. Each state has different laws on whether those votes count. In Minnesota, they don't.

Ritchie said elections officials cross-reference absentee voters' names with other records.

"Typically the locally election official is contacted by the family or the funeral home — and they're checking the obituaries all the time," Ritchie said. "But also, we use the state Department of Health's list. And as we get close to elections, we're doing weekly runs against them."

Ritchie said the recent story of a World War II vet in Hawaii who made voting a dying wish has prompted extra attention to the law. Frank Tanabe did cast an absentee ballot, then died a week later. A touching story, Ritchie said, but a vote that would not have counted in Minnesota.

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