You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Springfield fatal shooting victim identified

Can a write-in candidate win the 2016 presidential election?


Once only the realm of Mickey Mouse, Snoopy or the cat who has been mayor of a town in Alaska for the past 15 years, the write-in vote is fast becoming the hippest civics expression on the block.

With polls showing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton at unpopular poll numbers rarely seen in U.S. presidential elections, the search for an alternative is at a fever-pitch.

One attractive option is the write-in candidate — at least it is if Google searches are to be believed.

Online searches for the term “write-in” candidate set a record last week (a 2,800 percent increase over a record high for the search term set in 2004). According to Google Trends, the greatest number of searches came in states that are traditionally Republican and Democratic strongholds, not, as you may think, from swing states.

While it can be fun to write in the name of your favorite Kardashian, or your aunt, Edna, it doesn’t really advance the cause of democracy.

Here’s a quick look at what it takes for a write-in vote to count and why it’s not likely to change the political landscape this year.

What is a write-in vote?

A write-in vote happens when a voter writes-in the name of a person they wish to vote for instead of choosing a candidate whose name appears on the ballot. This type of vote in a presidential election is allowed in some form in 43 states.

If I want to vote this way, may I write in any name?

Sure you can. But, just a warning, if you are going with Darth Vader this election cycle, your victory party could be poorly attended.

The problem with writing in Darth Vader, other than the fact that he is a fictional character, is that he has not registered as a write-in candidate.

Wait. What? You have to register to be a write-in candidate?

In 35 states you do. And, in most of those states, the cutoff date to fill out paperwork or pay a fee has passed.

This is America, and I want vote for Darth Vader and have it count, what can I do?

You can live in one of eight states — Alabama, Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont and Wyoming — that allow voters to write-in any name they wish.

Any states that do not allow write-in votes?

Yes, there are seven states that do not allow write-in votes, or do so under very strict circumstances (for example, the death of a candidate who is already on the ballot). Those state are: Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

Has any president ever been elected this way?

No, no one has been elected president as a write-in candidate, but a sitting U.S. senator was elected that way. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) lost the Republican primary in her state in 2010, but won the Senate seat in the general election through a write-in candidacy.

Let’s imagine the write-in candidate wins the popular vote for president, what then?

That would be an interesting question; on election day, when we pull the lever (or write in a name), we are not voting for Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, we are voting for a slate of "electors" who are charged with representing our state’s vote when the electoral college meets to elect the president and vice president.

The Constitution of the United States does not dictate for whom the electors must vote, but some states do direct the votes of its electors. The electors generally vote for their party’s nominee when it comes to casting electoral college votes.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Nation World

Wright State Physicians CEO stepping down
Wright State Physicians CEO stepping down

Dr. Alan Marco is stepping down as president and CEO of Wright State Physicians, effective March 31, according to an internal email obtained by the Dayton Daily News. According to the email, Dr. Marco will be replaced as president by Dr. Jerry Yaklic — an obstetrician-gynecologist with Wright State Physicians Obstetrics & Gynecology and chair...
Policeman accused of abandoning emaciated dog in park
Policeman accused of abandoning emaciated dog in park

A Philadelphia police officer was charged with animal cruelty Thursday, four months after investigators believe he put his starving pit bull mix into a trash bag and abandoned her at a park. Authorities charged Officer Michael Long, 33, with multiple counts of animal cruelty following an investigation by the Pennsylvania SPCA and the police department&rsquo...
Dentist calls police on elderly woman; officer escorts her to new appointment
Dentist calls police on elderly woman; officer escorts her to new appointment

He has only been on the job for two weeks, but a Georgia police officer is already making a mark on his community. >> Read more trending news The Brookhaven Police Department posted on its Facebook page Thursday about how Officer Bell met a woman, identified only as Mary Anna. The elderly woman told Bell she went to a nearby dentist for a painful...
Clark County Common Pleas Court cases
Clark County Common Pleas Court cases

COMMON PLEAS COURT NEW SUITS 17-CV-0167 - Fifth Third Mortgage Company, Cincinnati, v. Mickey L. Sparrow, 4825 Mumper Road, et al., complaint in foreclosure for property located at 405-407 N. Bechtle Ave., for $45,405. 17-CV-0170 - Day Air Credit Union, Kettering, v. Stephen Setzer and Kasey Setzer, 4914 Bosart Road, complaint for $22,937. 17-DP-0242...
Anatomy of a scam: How a crime-fighting office became a crime victim
Anatomy of a scam: How a crime-fighting office became a crime victim

For more than four years, David Bruns was regularly stealing from his employer, funneling money into a house-flipping business and spending the rest on guns, hunting gear, a TV set and frequent lunches. He hid it from other employees in the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s office where he worked, and even from his wife Julie, who is an assistant...
More Stories