BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Secretary of State Bill Galvin said Monday that if someone votes early in the November election but dies before Election Day, their vote will be counted.

That’s a change from earlier voting rules that became necessary because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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In the past, if you voted early, died and elections officials discovered you were dead before Election Day, your vote would not be counted.

The early voting by mail period for absentee ballots is usually ten days in Massachusetts, but that’s now expanded by 20 additional days for this November. So the state legislature passed a temporary law to allow votes from those who died after casting ballots in the 2020 election.

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“To be clear, these are people who are alive and competent when they voted, but they may have died unexpectedly after they voted,” Galvin said. “In past times, if the local officials knew they were dead – had died – even though they had legally voted when they cast the ballot, they would have discarded the ballot, not counted it.”

Galvin then gave two examples.

“If somebody voted at 8 o’clock in the morning in person and then two hours later died, their ballot being in the box, it would have been counted. If somebody voted on an absentee ballot the day, or two days, before the election and died on Election Day and there’s no chance the material determined that they had died, they would always be counted. So that’s not new. What this did is (the legislation) took it out further. It’s not a significant number of ballots.”

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Election Day is November 3.