If you mark your ballot for the Nov. 3 election and mail it in before shuffling off this mortal coil, be assured you can still rest in peace. Your vote will be counted.
Temporary legislation passed on Beacon Hill this summer to address aspects of the pandemic allows Massachusetts voters who mark and mail in a ballot, but die before Election Day, to still have their votes counted. More than a dozen other states already allow those votes to be counted but lawmakers approved this law for the Bay State applying only to the 2020 vote.
There’s no way to know how many votes this will apply to come Nov. 3, but the legislation makes sense since it can be assumed the voter marks the ballot and mails it, expecting it to count, even though they can’t know they won’t live to see the results.
With all the focus on ensuring the veracity of voting this year – and claims by the administration about likelihood of widespread fraud, which have been disputed by the FBI – a provision allowing votes from people who have since died could be fodder for conspiracy theorists. The likelihood of huge numbers of ballots being mailed in this month – and evidence the U.S. Postal Service is being hobbled by its top administrators – further fans the flames.
Statehouse reporter Christian Wade wrote this week that nearly 18,000 mailed ballots were rejected by local election clerks in the September primary. But keep in mind more than 1.7 million ballots were cast so the rejected ballots account for just 1.7%, and they were rejected for good reasons.
The ballots were scrapped mostly because voters made mistakes, such as not signing the returned ballot or sending it too late to be counted.
The expansion of mail-in voting this year during the pandemic has given Bay State voters important options. You should feel confident you can vote in person on Nov. 3, if you’re comfortable doing so, or you can vote during the upcoming early voting period, which runs from Saturday, Oct. 17 through Friday, Oct. 30. The third option is voting by mail, as long as you are registered to vote, fill out the ballot and sign it where required, and drop it in the mail so it’s postmarked by Election Day.
We wish you good health and a long life, no matter how you vote this year.