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AG Opinion Sidelines Bill To Allow Dead People's Votes To Count

Brandon Smith/IPB News


Legislation to ensure ballots are counted even if the voters who cast them die won’t advance in the House.

The bill – which easily cleared the Senate – would require absentee ballots to be counted if the person who cast the ballot dies before Election Day.

But Attorney General Curtis Hill contends the measure is unconstitutional. A non-binding opinionissued by his office says a person ceases to be a resident if they die – and the Indiana Constitution requires residency to vote.

And that’s why House Elections Committee Chair Milo Smith (R-Columbus) says he won’t hear the bill, even if he agrees with its intent.

“If someone serving us abroad and they lose their life after they vote, their vote ought to count,” Smith says. “So I would hope that future legislators will look at how we can make that happen.”

Attorney General Hill’s opinion says if lawmakers want the ballots counted, a constitutional change is required.

Smith won’t be part of any further legislative effort to solve the issue. He’s retiring this year after 12 sessions in the General Assembly.