North Dakota legislative candidate who died of COVID-19 still on the ballot

His death came during the state's worst month so far for the virus.

October 17, 2020, 7:25 PM

A North Dakota legislative candidate who died from COVID-19 will still be on the ballot this November.

David Andahl, 55, died Oct. 5, after a short battle with the virus, his family said in a statement the following day. The Bismarck native was one of four House candidates running for two seats in the state's 8th District.

This week, North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem addressed how Andahl's recent death could affect the general election. Early voting for military and overseas voters began 46 days before the election and for other eligible voters 40 days prior, according to the attorney general. Early in-person voting begins in the state on Monday.

In an opinion released Tuesday, Stenehjem said that the court uses the "American" rule, "where votes cast for the deceased candidate should be counted."

"If a deceased candidate receives the majority of the votes, the candidate is elected," he said. "However, if the prevailing candidate has died, the candidate is no longer qualified and a vacancy will exist. State law provides the process to fill vacancies of a legislative office."

Indeed, the Secretary of State's website still lists Andahl on the ballot. If he wins, the state Republican Party will be allowed to appoint his replacement, the Star Tribune reported.

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