California Voters Re-Elected a Dead Guy

Oceanside City Treasurer Gary Ernst died in September yet defeated his challenger by thousands of votes

November 10, 2016
Photo: iStock

As if Election Day wasn’t unpredictable enough already, California voters just elected a man who had actually died over a month ago.

Well, they re-elected him, actually. Oceanside’s incumbent city treasurer Gary Ernst defeated his opponent by six percentage points on Tuesday, despite having died from diabetes-related complications in late September.

According to an Associated Press report, his name stayed on the ballot because there wasn’t enough time after his death to remove it. Barring an unlikely “Weekend at Bernie’s”-esque scenario, however, Ernst will not take office. Instead, the City Council has the option of declaring the seat vacant, allowing them to either appoint someone to serve the remainder of his term or call for a special election.

Challenger Nadine Scott, who lost because a dead person received over two thousand more votes than her, told a San Diego news station she hoped to be appointed to his post, arguing it would honor the 15,000 people who did vote for her. She also said she didn’t believe voters realized Ernst had died before stepping into the booth.

That wasn’t the only headline coming out of California on Election Day, either. Voters legalized marijuana on Tuesday and shot down a measure which would’ve forced porn actors to wear condoms.

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