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Spin Control

Posts tagged: write-in candidates

More to this campaign than ho-ho-ho

The voice on the other end of the phone was deep and mellifluous. “Jim. It’s Santa Claus.”

It did not belong to the most famous resident of the North Pole, but to a resident of Incline Village, Nev., whose legal name is Santa Claus. A former police official, a monk, a child advocate. A candidate for president.

He’s one of Washington state’s 37 official write-in candidates for president, a list that includes some less-than-serious and some seriously deluded. They are people who took the time to fill out a form and send it to the Secretary of State’s office. Unless you merely want to check running for president off your bucket list, as one Spokane candidate on the list said, it’s an exercise somewhere between futility and obscurity.

You can’t win (please do not bother call and tell me about the conspiracy between the news media and the major parties to keep you from getting the votes you deserve if only we’d pay attention). The votes you get won’t be counted unless they could decide a close presidential race in the state. Translation: They won’t be counted.

Later this month, the state will report the total number of write-ins cast for the office. You can claim all of them; but you can only be certain of one, and that’s if you cast it for yourself.

Claus, however, is a serious guy –

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More options for that presidential vote

If you don't like Barack Obama or Mitt Romney, you have other choices, and not just the four other candidates on Idaho’s presidential ballot, or the six others on Washington's.

Voters also can – and hundreds do – write in another name on a space provided. Those votes won't be counted unless the race between Obama and Romney is so close they would make a difference. Even though that’s unlikely in either state, that didn't keep 37 would-be White House occupants from filing as official presidential write-in candidates in Washington.

That’s a record number, Libby Nieland of the state elections office said, possibly because this is the first year Washington allowed online filing of the paperwork and because a website offers would-be candidates information and links to the 43 states that allow presidential write-ins.

It’s free in 42 of them. Kentucky charges $50.

The Washington list includes . . .

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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.

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