Mickey Mouse Not Eligible for Write-ins

by Christopher O'Brien

Does your vote count?

If you plan on writing in the name of “Mickey Mouse”,  Bernie Sanders, or Tom hanks on the write- in line of your ballot, you very well could be wasting your time. Your vote will not be counted.

That’s not to say that Mickey Mouse isn’t a popular option, nor that Tom Hanks might be a better President than the other candidates in 2016. Of any candidate over the past 80 years, Mickey is probably the most popular. However, state laws, require that a candidate be registered with the Secretary of State’s office, so we may never know how many votes he’s ever actually had.

Denise Merrill’s office released a list of 20 eligible names for write-in votes last week. State law says that voters can write in the pair of President and Vice President candidates, or simply just write in the name of the Presidential candidate in the write-in space provided on your ballot. Either will count for a vote for the candidate ticket specified by the voter.

Click HERE for the list of eligible write-in candidates

Have trouble spelling your candidate’s name? No problem, as long as the spelling errors are minor and the election worker would understand the intent of the voter. But, it still helps to write the name on a piece of paper to take with you to the polls, especially in case two eligible names might be similar. You don’t want to write “McCain” when you intend “McMullin”. Oh, and make sure your handwriting is legible!

Learn about some of the local write-in candidates for President

There’s another qualification for write-in votes as well. The US Constitution says that a President and Vice President cannot be from the same state. Four pairs of write-in candidates on the Connecticut list appear to both be from Connecticut, so that would make them ineligible to serve. Of course, most write-in candidates have no intention on winning. “We’re hoping for the high single-digits to low double digits” one candidate tells the New Haven Register. “Oh, and that’s total votes – not percentages”.

Still, some candidates are a little more serious. Evan McMullin is running neck-and-neck with Donald Trump in Utah and has made national headlines over the past two weeks. If he is successful in Utah and blocks both Trump and Clinton from reaching 270 electoral votes, Congress would decide the election.

Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party is also running a national campaign.

While many voters cast write-in votes as protest votes, there have been a few successful write- in campaigns in US History. Michael Jarjura ran a concerted write-in effort with instructions on how to fill out the old voting machine spaces in 2007. He won with 7,874 votes. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski defeated two challengers in 2010 race by amassing over 101,000 write -in votes and Ohio Congressman Charlie Wilson won a 2006 campaign with 66% of the vote all in write- in tallies. So, a write-in campaign CAN be successful-  however all of these candidates were incumbents who were well known to voters already.

In Connecticut, its challenging to become a regular candidate for the general election. You need to have been nominated by a major party to do so. Failing that, you could petition your way onto the ballot. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein successfully did exactly that with over 8,000 valid signatures back in August. Other statewide candidates for Governor and US Senate have not been so successful.

Becoming a write- in candidate is pretty easy though. Go to the Secretary of State’s website, and then have seven residents sign their name to the form, and you’ll be all set. Those seven residents are needed in case you actually win the state. They then become your seven voters in the Electoral College. The deadline for filing the form is Tuesday, October 25th.

Of course, that’s not to say that the unpredictable election of 2016 wouldn’t be fitting with a write- in ending, right?


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