Leading Vancouver City Council candidate Scott Campbell died Sunday from multiple organ failure after battling cancer for several years. But election officials say his name will still appear on the ballot.
That means voters in Vancouver could elect a deceased man to office in November.
“My knowledge is that it doesn’t happen too often,” said Clark County’s Elections Supervisor Cathie Garber.
The last time she could recall somebody passing away during an election was when Vancouver’s Rob Figley died while running for a Clark County freeholder position.
Garber said with the ballots and voter guides already printed, it’s too late to include a note that Campbell is now deceased. And, while rare, Garber said it is legal in Washington for voters to place their votes on a dead man.
“They can do that, that’s the privilege and right of voting,” said Garber.
Campbell was the governmental and community affairs director for Waste Connections. He also served on several local boards for foundations and nonprofits in Southwest Washington. In August, he led a five-person primary with 55 percent of the vote and was a favorite to win in November.
Campbell’s campaign manager, Jim Mains, said his company will cease advertising and campaign events for the candidate.
According to public campaign records, Campbell raised more than $21,000. Mains said much of that has already been spent on advertising during the primary. The family will likely return percentages to supporters or give the remainder to a nonprofit, he added.
Over the past few days, Mains said Campbell’s family has received an outpouring of support from the community, including many who plan on voting for Campbell in November anyway.
“Some people feel like this might be the way for them to remember him and support him,” said Maines. “Everyone has their own way of processing death.”
Campbell’s challenger, Maureen McGoldrick, secured 16 percent of the vote in the primary, but has not raised any campaign money.
If Campbell wins the November vote, Vancouver City Council will appoint a successor who will serve the first year of the term.