Is this a democracy (or what)?
October 29, 2006 5:14 AM   Subscribe

The Ins and Outs of Write-in (Candidates) Can you vote for a write-in candidate in your state? In 2004, Business Week said "Regardless of which state you live in, voting for a write-in contender is much more complicated than scribbling whatever name you please on the dotted line at the bottom of the ballot. Thirty-five states require that a write-in candidate must submit some form of affidavit and, sometimes, a filing fee at least one month before the election. In North Carolina, these candidates must circulate a petition. Then their names are posted on a list at the polling place, though not on the official ballot. All other write-in votes are tossed. " In Massachusetts, the Boston Globe reports Write-in candidates face hurdle on paper ballots. Wikipedia reports there have been some successes however (including Strom Thurmond's election to the US Senate).
posted by notmtwain (16 comments total)
Don't worry. I'm not running for anything( but you can still write in my name in Massachusetts if you want.) I am interested in this question, however, having supported Ralph Nader's campaign in 2004.
posted by notmtwain at 5:16 AM on October 29, 2006

During the 2004 election after DeLay gerrymandered my district (Austin, TX), the Democrat candidate for my district was a write in. On the eSlate machine where there's an iPod-like wheel to enter the letters like you do when you get the top score in video games. The guy running had a not-that-easy-to-spell name and so he didn't have a chance.
posted by birdherder at 5:33 AM on October 29, 2006

Sounds like a Mickey Mouse system.
posted by BillyElmore at 5:54 AM on October 29, 2006

Alex Hightower reports "... with corporate and right-wing interests seizing all three branches of the national government, and with the Democratic leadership being either co-opted or inept, the flow of progressive energy has moved steadily out of Washington and (like water finding a new course) into grassroots organizing. In the past decade, these feisty groups using street actions, ballot initiatives, lawsuits, the internet, media exposés, local elections, radio, potluck suppers, festivals, satire, and every other tool at their disposal have become a powerful force on a wide range of issues, and they are changing American politics from the ground up. Let's take stock of some of the progress being made."

I would like to think that he is correct. Is there any evidence for this?
posted by notmtwain at 6:09 AM on October 29, 2006

birdherder, your point is quite valid. we still don't have a viable electronic voting system. how write-in candidates get treated in electronic systems is something I haven't even seen discussed before. Perhaps there should be a Google or Yahoo like search function so that you would put in a name and you would be asked "Do you mean "notmtwain"? I sympathize with those candidates with names that are longer than 4 letters or have non-English origins .

billyelmore, i don't doubt that Mickey Mouse has been the leading write-in candidate in many elections. I think that liberals should perhaps consider voting for someone more progressive like "Jon Stewart" or "Steven Colbert" instead of voting for the distressingly conservative Mickey.
posted by notmtwain at 6:17 AM on October 29, 2006

I think that liberals should perhaps consider voting for someone more progressive like "Jon Stewart" or "Steven Colbert"

Watch for tossed ballots from Florida for spelling it "John" Stewart or Stephen Cold Bear.
posted by hal9k at 6:37 AM on October 29, 2006

Well I would gladly write in Jim Hightower instead of Mickey Mouse but what if I accidentally wrote in Alex Hightower, would we still elect Mickey?
posted by BillyElmore at 6:41 AM on October 29, 2006

notmtwain --

Don't you mean Ted Hitler?
posted by graymouser at 6:52 AM on October 29, 2006

Wimp or Shrimp?
posted by blue_beetle at 9:52 AM on October 29, 2006

So Mikey Mouse will never be elected? Thank goodness.
posted by Citizen Premier at 12:20 PM on October 29, 2006

We should make all candidates write in candidates. How sure can you be about a choice if you can't even remember a guy's friggin' name?
posted by delmoi at 5:26 PM on October 29, 2006

Also we should allow corporations to run for office. Why not? They have "legal rights" don't they?
posted by delmoi at 5:27 PM on October 29, 2006

It's pretty depressing that there are whole Congressional districts in Florida where a single person didn't sign up to be a "qualified write-in candidate". In the cases where the seat is uncontested, like the FL-03, that means there is no election at all. The ballot doesn't even need to include that race, since no write-ins would even count.
posted by smackfu at 6:50 PM on October 29, 2006

(Of course it also boggles my mind that there are uncontested Congressional races at all.)
posted by smackfu at 6:55 PM on October 29, 2006

Also we should allow corporations to run for office. Why not? They have "legal rights" don't they?

You say that like the Halliburton BoD hasn't made all the major decisions for the US in the past almost-6 years...
posted by clevershark at 8:29 PM on October 29, 2006

Yay Halliburton!
posted by homunculus at 9:55 PM on October 29, 2006

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