On Oct. 17, 69-year-old Army veteran Carl Boykin of York – a welder all his life battling illness at the Agape rehabilitation center – filled out an absentee ballot for the Nov. 6 election.
Boykin was one of many residents at Agape that staff helped either register to vote, obtain absentee ballots, or both.
“My father loved his country,” said Karen Rogers, one of Boykin’s daughters. “It wasn’t his first time to vote.”
Filling out that ballot was the last action the patriotic Carl Boykin ever offered. He died the next day.
This is not a case of the dead voting. Carl Boykin was clearly alive when he filled out his ballot.
But because he died before the ballots will be opened and counted on Nov. 6, his vote will not count, said Wanda Hemphill, voter registration and elections director for York County.
In 2008 a similar situation came up in another part of the state. South Carolina election officials asked the state attorney general for a legal opinion, Hemphill said.
The opinion stated that elections officials have to challenge any ballot where voting officials are told the voter doesn’t meet the election requirement of being alive when the votes are counted, Hemphill said.
The news that Carl Boykin’s vote would not be counted surprised his family.
But his widow, Flora, and others in the family wanted people to know that Boykin did vote before he died – whether the vote counts or not.
The pride that Carl Boykin took in his country, and his vote, showed right up until the day before he died.
Sick, and dying, after almost two years at Agape, Carl Boykin cast his ballot just hours before he died.
A social conservative who was against abortion, Carl Boykin’s final vote was for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, the Republican ticket, said Flora Boykin, Carl’s wife of 44 years.
“Carl was the cameraman in church for years,” Flora Boykin said.
“He always worked, and he cared enough to do what he thought he should do right up to the end. That vote was about the last thing he did.”