Indiana lawmaker blocking bill to count dead people’s votes

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An Indiana House committee chairman plans to block a bill that would allow the votes of dead people to count.

Republican Elections Committee chairman Milo Smith says he doesn't plan to allow a committee hearing or vote on the bill in the coming weeks. The Senate voted 45-2 last month in favor of the bill that requires election officials to count absentee ballots "marked and forwarded" by Indiana voters who then die before Election Day.

Smith told The Times of Northwest Indiana that he based his decision on an official opinion from Republican Attorney General Curtis Hill, who said the legislation is unconstitutional because a deceased person is not considered an Indiana resident.

In the opinion, Hill said an absentee ballot simply expresses the intent to vote. The ballot does not become an actual vote until it is unsealed and cast on Election Day.

Supporters say it is burdensome for county-level elections officials to track whether absentee voters have died.

Although Indiana's voting laws say the ballots of dead people should be discarded before an election, they also say an election can't be made invalid if absentee votes from people who have died are inadvertently included in the final vote total.

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