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GAB: Absentee ballot of late Transportation Secretary won't count

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MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin’s longest-serving transportation secretary filled out an absentee ballot before he died.

But under state law, Charles Thompson’s vote will not count.

His oldest daughter, Julie Johnson, told the Portage Daily Register that one of Thompson’s last acts was to get an absentee ballot to vote. But Reid Magney of the state Government Accountability Board tells the paper that a person’s vote legally does not exist until Election Day.

That’s when the ballot comes out of a sealed envelope, and is counted along with those voting in person. Because the ballot is not counted until Election Night, Magney says the voter must be alive and eligible to vote at that time.

Thompson, who died last week, was the state’s Transportation Secretary from 1992 through 2000.

It’s not often that absentee votes are rejected because the person dies before Election Day – but it does happen on occasion. And officials say it can take a few months to discover it.

But Columbia County Clerk Sue Moll says the municipal clerks in her county are vigilant about updating the voter rolls – and she says the chance that a ballot will make it past a local clerk is low.

Back in April, Moll said a clerk attached an obituary to the envelope of an absentee ballot, to make sure it was not counted.

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