Request: What is the result or effect of votes that are cast for a qualified candidate for political office who died after early voting was commenced and at a time when it is not possible to change the names or otherwise replace the candidate on the ballot prior to the general election?
Conclusion: Our court follows the majority of states that use the “American” rule, where votes cast for the deceased candidate should be counted. If a deceased candidate receives the majority of the votes, the candidate is elected. However, if the prevailing candidate has died, the candidate is no longer qualified and a vacancy will exist. State law provides the process to fill vacancies of a legislative office.