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Dead Man Elected Mayor


For a genealogist, one of the most difficult things to do is letting go of the legacy of our ancestors. Apparently, this problem extends beyond genealogy as a town in Missouri voted in for mayor a man who had been dead for a couple of weeks.

In April, the town of Winfield, Missouri (about 50 miles northwest of St. Louis) voted in Harry Stonebraker for mayor even though he died a couple of weeks earlier of a heart attack. Stonebraker, who won 90% of the vote in the town of 1,500 people, was a popular three-time mayor. Lincoln County Clerk Elaine Luck said Stonebraker’s popularity increased after he helped lead the community after it was flooded in 2008. Winfield is a Mississippi River town. She was quoted in the Associated Press as saying “I figured he’d win because he seemed to get even more popular after he died”. The town will appoint a temporary mayor until a new election is held in April 2010. You can read more about this story in the newspaper St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

This is not the first time people in Missouri have voted in to office a dead person. Missouri’s US Senate race in 2000 was won by Democrat Mel Carnahan even though he had died in a plane crash several weeks earlier. The State of Missouri appears to have an interesting way to respect their recently deceased ancestors.

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