If I absentee/early vote for a candidate in early October but that candidate dies prior to the November 2nd election, what happens to my vote? Do I get to vote over? Does that vote go to the VP candidate? Does my vote go to the new candidate chosen by the party?

I've looked at the 20th amendment but it only makes mention of "president-elect". President-elect in my understanding means that candidate has already been elected in the general election on Nov. 2nd. Is there any case law?


You don't vote directly for candidates. You vote for an Elector in the Electoral College.

If the candidate that the Elector has pledged that they will vote for dies before the Elector meets at the Electoral College, they can vote any candidate of their choice.

This happened in 1912, when the Vice-Presidential candidate James Sherman died one week before the election.

  • That makes complete sense. I didn't even think about the Electoral College. Thanks!
    – Albion
    Sep 14 '16 at 15:56
  • IMO, you express a preference a president, the results of which legally triggers selection of a specific set of electors, who are obligated to cast votes a certain way. The names of electors are unknown to the public at election time (at least in WA). Interestingly, there is no mechanism (in WA) whereby a successful write-in candidate can have electors.
    – user6726
    Sep 14 '16 at 16:36
  • Ya the ballot itself might not be clear that you are voting for electors .. I don't know what WA's looks like.
    – user3851
    Sep 14 '16 at 17:57
  • 2
    Also it happened in 1872 when Horace Greely died before the Electoral College met. Those electors who still voted for him had their ballots discarded. The others gave their votes to others. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Greeley#Final_month_and_death Sep 14 '16 at 21:04

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