Election results are still trickling in in Washington state (it's a vote-by-mail-only state, KOMO News reports), but it looks like voters are giving Democratic Rep. Roger Freeman of Federal Way a second term with about 53% of the vote, NBC News notes. There's just one problem: The 48-year-old Freeman died last week after a long battle with colon cancer, the Seattle Times reports. Many voters either didn't know Freeman had died or had already sent in their ballots, the Washington Post reports. "I did not know that. When did he pass away?" one voter told KVAL. "This is extremely rare," a spokesman for Washington's secretary of state tells NBC. "But there are protocols in place."
Those protocols would be much simpler if voters had simply elected the very much alive Republican candidate, Jack Dovey. However, since Freeman is apparently the victor, Democrats in the district will pick three names to serve as his temporary replacement; the county councils will then vote one of those candidates in to serve for one year, with a special election next year to pick someone for the final year of the two-year term, NBC notes. Dovey, now known as the challenger beat by a deceased candidate, simply tells KVAL, "It's a tragic thing that happened." (This county candidate dropped out of the race after his dead friend supposedly voted for him.)