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Spin Control

Not all write-ins will — or can — count

Voters who are unhappy with their choices for a particular office and are thinking of writing in another candidate should take note: You’re free to write in any name you want in any race on the ballot if you think it will “send a message.”

But that doesn’t mean that ballots will be counted for that race, and whatever message you’re sending may not get delivered.

Write ins are only counted if there are enough to affect the outcome of the race between the candidates on the ballot, and only candidates who file a petition of write-in candidacy before election day have their ballots counted in Washington state.

Washington also has what’s often referred to as a “sore loser law” in state statute and administrative law.

Candidates who ran in the primary but didn’t advance to the general election aren’t eligible to file as write-in candidates for that office, Katie Blinn, attorney for the state Elections Office, said: “No write-in vote for that candidate is valid. The votes will not be counted.”

So if you’re thinking that you’d like to vote for that candidate who really wowwed you in the primary but didn’t make it to November, just remember: That vote won’t count. Except maybe in your heart.


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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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