All About Estates

Democracy – The Right to Vote for a Dead Guy

A dead Republican pimp has won a state assembly seat in Nevada
– How’s that for an attention-grabbing opening?

Election season in the U.S. has wrapped and it turns out that as much as we wanted to, Canadians were not allowed to vote. But this is an estates blog after all, so that leads to the main question my blog will attempt to answer: What happens when an election candidate dies before the election?

In Ontario, Section 31(1) of the Elections Act states:

31 (1) If a candidate dies after being nominated and before the close of the poll, the returning officer shall suspend the election and the Chief Electoral Officer shall fix new days for the nomination of candidates and for polling in that electoral district but any certified nominations may, at the option of the candidate nominated, remain valid.

You might be thinking that our neighbors to the south also have a similar process in place. That would make for a boring blog now wouldn’t it? And yes, I decided to use the American spelling of “neighbor”.

In the US, the procedures for finding replacements for candidate vacancies are guided by federal and state laws, as well as party regulations. For example, on November 6th Nevada brothel owner Dennis Hof was elected to the Nevada State Assembly. This was despite him passing away on October 16th at the age of 72. With nearly 68 percent of the vote, Hof beat his democrat counterpart, Lesia Romanov. Let that sink in for a minute.

If you followed the US election, you would know that a record number of women were elected to the House. On the one hand, it’s about time. On the other hand, Widow’s Succession is still a thing.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, this is when an empty seat is filled by the spouse of the deceased legislator. Many of the earliest women to hold political office in the modern era attained their positions through this practice.

In 2000, Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan was famously elected to the Senate, 38 days after passing away in a plane crash. Carnahan beat incumbent Senator John Ashcroft. Don’t feel too bad for Ashcroft though, he went on to serve as U.S. Attorney General under President George W. Bush. Good thing those types of roles are appointed. Carnahan’s wife filled his spot in the Senate until a 2002 special election.

For the record, Widow’s Succession does not apply to the President of the United States. I’m sure Hilary researched that a long time ago.

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About Peter Meitanis


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