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Monday, November 3, 2008

Will Madelyn Dunham’s Vote Count?

posted by on November 3 at 17:17 PM


I was talking with a coworker earlier today about how sad it was for Barack Obama’s grandmother to have died on the day before the election. My coworker took the sadness one step further, wondering if Madelyn Dunham’s vote (she voted by early absentee ballot) would now not be counted.

Not knowing the answer, I called the Office of Elections in Hawaii. Kevin Cronin, chief election officer for the state, just got back to me. Here’s what he said:

Ms. Dunhamís absentee mail ballot was received and reviewed under the Hawaii standards for processing absentee mail ballots… She was alive at that time. Her ballot will be opened tomorrow, and it will be counted in the same way that all absentee voters would be treated under our law.

The key point appears to be that Ms. Dunham was alive at the time her absentee ballot was received and reviewed, and that it met the standards for review at that time.

Madelyn Dunham’s vote will count, even if she is not here to learn the final tally.

RSS icon Comments


But what about Madelyn Dunham's vote?

Posted by kk | November 3, 2008 5:22 PM


Posted by hannity colmes | November 3, 2008 5:23 PM

@1: Duly embarrassed for the typo, which has now been fixed.

Posted by Eli Sanders | November 3, 2008 5:25 PM

well done eli.

Posted by thickturd | November 3, 2008 5:30 PM

Is that true here in Washington too? My grandfather died on the 24th, but had already voted by absentee.

Posted by M | November 3, 2008 5:36 PM

interesting, and slightly good news to counter the sad. i was curious about this, too.

Posted by josh | November 3, 2008 5:47 PM

And they said Barack was no Jack Kennedy!

Yet, here he is, scaping votes off the gravestones...his own grandma's no less.

Ah, there's a wee touch of the Irish (mafia) in that O'Bama.

Posted by John Bailo | November 3, 2008 6:01 PM

Such heartbreaking timing. Can't shake it out of my head.

Posted by kerri harrop | November 3, 2008 6:01 PM

Choke on a dick, Bailo.

Posted by Matthew | November 3, 2008 6:05 PM

Small consolation, I'm sure. Imagine being able to cast your vote for your grandson, the first AA to be elected President of the USA.

Posted by KMartDad | November 3, 2008 6:20 PM

Barack is a wonderful man who was influenced by a wonderful woman! RIP Grandma. I know you will be there in spirit to watch your boy be elected as President of the United States of America. You will be right next to him.

Posted by deedee | November 3, 2008 6:28 PM

It's sad that she did not live one more day to see her grandson be elected President. I'm sure she will be smiling from heaven.

Posted by kebabs | November 3, 2008 6:44 PM

Bailo, you moron. Her vote is symbolic. He loved her. Her vote means a lot to him. Sheesh....How mean can one person be??

Posted by icantstandit | November 3, 2008 6:52 PM

Our local newspaper ran an article discussing the very issue of absentee ballots being cast and the voter passing away prior to the election. Apparently, states in the US have many different rules governing this issue. This is not a case of voter fraud; obviously, Hawaii has rules that make it so.

Ignorance is rampant in this society; we need better informed voters to prevent hyperbolic and distorted facts.

Posted by Daisy | November 3, 2008 6:59 PM

@9: Been there, done that, too small.

Posted by John Bailo's lonely and underused cock | November 3, 2008 6:59 PM


I am sad for you to have such malice in your heart. A wonderful woman who loved her grandchild very much passed away today. It is so sad that she did not (and his mother did not) get to see their loved son/grandson become President of the United States. Can you imagine how amazing that must be? I am so sad that she did not live to see this, but I am so happy that he will be our next President.

Posted by Thomas | November 3, 2008 7:01 PM

Hooray! I have tears in my eyes. It is truly remarkable how certain human beings have a propensity for living lives of high drama/ mythical import. Barack Obama is one of them. This incident is a story that could be written in a Greek tragedy -- or at least a 19th-c novel.

Posted by cjaneway | November 3, 2008 7:04 PM

I think that is so great. And very sweet that someone went to the trouble to find out if her vote would be counted. I wish she could've seen Barack win.

On a snarky note, check out Grandpa's man-camel toe. (Mamel toe?)

Posted by Ariel | November 3, 2008 7:09 PM

kudos to the Hawai'ian elections bureau to take the time to respond to you ... and thanks for asking as I am sure many of us were wondering the same thing

BTW ... are the rules the same here in Washington?

Posted by Gordon | November 3, 2008 7:15 PM

Ms Dunham, you raised a wonderful grandson. Rest in peace.

Posted by RainMan | November 3, 2008 7:41 PM

Congrats to Eli on the quick reporting and mention on Ben Smith's blog at Politico.

Posted by Enuja | November 3, 2008 7:42 PM

Die in a fire, Bailo

Posted by Bailo's tiny penis | November 3, 2008 7:53 PM

Hey Bailo:

Even that piece of shit McCain sent his condolences to Obama.

What's that say about you?

Posted by UnCommonSense | November 3, 2008 7:59 PM

Some people simply don't have any grain of civility even for the belated.

Posted by American Thinktank | November 3, 2008 8:40 PM

RIP grandma. It's so sad she passed before the election. But at least she DID get to fill out that bubble next to his name! How wonderful that must have felt.

And to the troll...BEHAVE! Eli got linked by Politico. There might be guests watching.
Well anyway. Too bad we can't lock Bailo up in a closet until the dinner guests leave.
Now I'm feeding the troll too. I'll shut up.

Posted by onion | November 3, 2008 9:03 PM

LOL a woman dies and all you care about is her vote so her grandson can be president? Seems like ya'll cared less about the woman and just wanted another vote for Obama.

Posted by The Ironing is Delicious | November 3, 2008 9:06 PM

To: Ironing - the point is that she got to vote for her grandson. Have some basic human decency. Your comments might be of interest in a swing state, but not Hawaii. People are just happy for an old lady. What's your problem?

Her ballot was treated like everyone else's in the same situation. If somebody else died this weekend, would the family go running to the elections commission? Of course not. And even if they did, would they sort through thousands of ballots to find one from someone who was alive when she voted? No. There would be no reason to go looking for grandma's ballot any more than for any one else's. To do so WOULD be to treat her differently. Her ballot was treated as anyone else's would be, according to state law.

I feel sorry for these hateful people. They are truly miserable excuses for human beings.

Posted by Civil person | November 3, 2008 9:37 PM

It is disgusting of how republicans don't even try to hide their main motto: The end justifies the means, especially when the end is in their advantage. I guess when you leave by the rule of the jungle, you also think by it.

So sad that there is so much hatred around.

Those types of negative comments should have been ignored completely. Obviously, I can't do that either.

Let's hope for a brighter tomorrow for our amazing nation. We have the brain power, the resources and most importantly, the PEOPLE.

Posted by Sad but hopeful | November 3, 2008 9:54 PM

I've now wept thrice at Tutu's passing. It's taken a lot to realize my personal necessity of Barack's victory. Everything I love about this country is about to be realized for the first time in my adult life, from my affirmation as a gay man to the hopes of my family in Argentina to the future of my best friend's family, who is from Nairbobi. There are so many emotions riding on the results tomorrow. I literally cannot wait to see this man elected.

Posted by SippinALatte | November 3, 2008 10:27 PM


Posted by pabs | November 3, 2008 10:40 PM


Posted by PABS | November 3, 2008 10:41 PM

are you kidding pabs? I mean you have to be joking right? are we back in the 1950's and calling each other communists again? before this election I actually respected mccain for his long service and his ability to take the high road on every occasion. Unfortunately the man has sold his soul to try and win this election and will say anything (read "socialist"). its comments like those and people like you that make me run, not walk, over to the obama camp. Hopefully the days of public figures attacking others patriotism will end with this election. I know it will be too much to hope it will shut you up pabs

Posted by expat | November 3, 2008 11:16 PM

PABS and Bailo

The both or you both a piece of #@%* scum. Your parents must be so proud of
the type of people youve turned out to be. Absolutely cold and pathetic!!!!!!!!!

Posted by DHP | November 3, 2008 11:16 PM

The wingnuts are out in force.

You're already acting like sore losers. Let the people vote. Jesus.

Posted by Matthew | November 3, 2008 11:21 PM

My heart goes out to the Obama family. I know how it is to lose a love one especially one that has raised you and tought you right from wrong and guided you to where you needed to be today. Things happen for a reason.

And for all those who are heartless and foolish, this is not a way for sympathetic people to vote for Obama, people will vote for which ever candidate they wish to vote for. So get that through your foolish, brain if you have any sense.

Comments like that comes from people who have no knowledge at all, no education background, no moral sense. What a disgrace you are to America. You filthy scum of this earth.

But I forgive your ignorance.

Posted by strength | November 3, 2008 11:28 PM

And I must add, I truly hope that it was because of her last vote that will bring her grandson to lead America in a New and Changed Direction. She fulfilled her purpose here in life now she has gone with peacefulness that she voted, for who and what she believed in. Afterall, it will be her legacy that will live on through her grandson, Obama.

Posted by strength | November 3, 2008 11:39 PM

A little decency here - I feel sorry for bailo and pabs. Evidently, they are very unhappy people. Regardless of what they think about Obama, we are all human beings, and their comments just show their ignorance and lack of understanding of the truth, not to mention complete lack of compassion and human feeling. They live in anger and ignorance, so they attract the same, and they will have to live with their own Karma. They have my sympathy

Posted by CommonSense | November 4, 2008 12:15 AM

I don't think John Bailo's serious - it looked to me like an admittedly tasteless attempt at humor.

Posted by judas_priest | November 4, 2008 12:24 AM

Wish she had been around to see it. Sad days for Obama.

Posted by Neal Hicks | November 4, 2008 2:13 AM

Um, yes, Ms. Dunham's absentee ballot vote counts. May she rest in peace.

Live voters can vote, deceased ones can't. Duh.

Posted by Chumly | November 4, 2008 5:59 AM

Thanks for the post. This matters to me and I appreciate the info.

I understand that voting rules used to be different and Mrs. Dunham's ballot would not have counted then, but does under new guidelines.

RIP Madelyn - you did a great job.

Posted by Ellen | November 4, 2008 6:19 AM

Actually, I don't "feel sad about these poor people who can't show a little human decency about a dying grandmother".
Instead, I feel really happy their ugly little GOP ticket is about to have it's ass kicked.
Plus, it's gonna be fun watching each of these furious little toads torch into a tiny piece of burnt toast over this. Awwwwwwwww. Maybe they can use the next four years to become literate.

Posted by jef | November 4, 2008 6:25 AM

I agree with judas_priest, I thought John Bailo was being sarcastic. I wouldn't even call it tasteless, although some blogs have a higher appreciation for (or just tolerance of) spoofers than others.

Posted by Cyrus | November 4, 2008 6:26 AM

What about zombies? They're technically dead but if they could get it together to stop eating flesh for long enough to make some choices and pull the lever, would their vote count? If they had their driver's license and had registered to vote before becoming undead doesn't it seem like a valid argument?

Posted by Jim Neill | November 4, 2008 6:37 AM

My thought is that Pabs, if not Bailo, at least for sure is a result of Ben Smith's [or Sullivan's] linking - Ben Smith definitely gets the generic trolls stinking up his comments columns. I don't think he's one of ours.
But this sweet woman's death has certainly provided the absolute lowest limbo stick for them to possibly slither under - "how low can they go?" one wondered - well, there's no limit, apparently. Can you even imagine wanting to say something snarky if McCain's mom died? And yeah, I hate McCain, but not in a million years.

Posted by Phoebe | November 4, 2008 6:58 AM

Bailo was joking! And not such a bad joke, IMHO.

Voting and electoral democracy have quirks, and you got to love 'em (and joke about them) or you end up hating -- like the folks (including McCain) who genuinely hate ACORN for blocking their "right" to rule.

Maybe it's a regional thing. At least here in Philadelphia (I voted already) that kind of humor is typical, and hey, Philly voters are going to make sure that Obama wins the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

And speaking of "common wealth," I guess maybe it's okay to spread it around a bit...

Posted by Kofu | November 4, 2008 8:25 AM

Why do you all assume she voted FOR Barack? She was a devout Christian and likely pro-life. She likely also remembers McCain's service as well as Ayer's tirades. I'm guessing she voted for McCain.

Posted by Dan | November 4, 2008 8:36 AM

Of course she voted for McCain. That must be why campaign records show she donated the maximum personal amount ($2000) to Obama. So she could vote for McCain.

Posted by Dan is an idiot | November 4, 2008 8:43 AM

I may be an idiot, it's true. But I won't be to blame when there is a single house rule of the Pres, the House, and the Senate. Remember that the past 8 years weren't determined by some president acting alone, he had the help of the House and the Senate. Here's to a heck of a lot more of the Same. Bye Bye Obama's "Change"

Posted by Dan the idiot | November 4, 2008 9:08 AM

This may have already been said, but I'm gonna go ahead and say it again: For those of you who think that Obama will be using his grandmother's death as some sort of political playing card... It must be really sad to be that cynical. I'm the most cynical person I know, but even I have enough of a heart to see a death of a loved one as exactly that: A loss. Have the right-wingers really become this desperate? What if we found out that the little mole on Obama's face is actually melanoma? What will you say then? "Oh, he probably sat close to the microwave just so he could get that to drum up pity votes." No matter how this election turns out... I'm just so sickened by the behavior of a lot of the people in my country. And how any of you can say these kinds of things without a twinge of guilt is beyond me.

Posted by Steve | November 4, 2008 9:45 AM

PEOPLE unfortunately we all have to share the planet...SO THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TODAY IS TO GET OUT AND VOTE. QUIT THROWING THE NASTY COMMENTS...MOST OF US ARE INTELLIGENT ENOUGH THAT WE'VE ALREADY WEEDED THROUGH THE GARBAGE AND MADE OUR DECISION...Mrs. Dunham's vote should count she was alive when she cast it and if you moron's can't understand that...I'm sure Sarah and her first dud (not a typo) will be seceeding from the U.S. soon and will have a place there for you! OBAMA/BIDEN '08

Posted by cmm | November 4, 2008 10:15 AM

I'm gonna quote someone here. "Don't boo, just vote."

Posted by Jaime | November 4, 2008 10:38 AM

Some people are mean and/or sore losers.

Posted by lmg | November 4, 2008 11:23 AM

Okay, so now we know he got three votes that were against the true Christians in the US

Posted by kitten | November 4, 2008 11:34 AM

Okay, so now we know he got three votes that were against the true Christians in the US and Christian values

Posted by kitten | November 4, 2008 11:35 AM

I think we all need to grow up and stop making hurtful comments. I really feel sorry for those who do not have any morals in there life and hopefully they don't have any kids. A grandma just past away, a day before she got a chance to see her grandson being elected for president. Let her RIP! Grow up people!

Posted by Reality | November 4, 2008 11:49 AM

News of your phone call made Salon's War Room. Nice going, Eli!

Posted by Barest Degree | November 4, 2008 11:56 AM

Shame on you people who are so blinded with real life, look around at all the everyday down to earth people and see who has a heart,only GOD can judge.Go OBAMA. God bless you and your family,Love to Grandma

Posted by Dianna Bryant | November 4, 2008 3:18 PM

I hope you get raped, Bailo. And I hope anyone you love and/or remotely care about gets raped as well while you're forced to watch. Fuck you!

Posted by Bailo Is A Turd | November 4, 2008 10:31 PM

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