How to Vote for a Write-In Candidate

October 24, 2008
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If you want to vote for someone whose name is not on the ballot, you can write the name on the ballot yourself. You can also use a sticker with the candidate’s name on it.

Write-ins are a big issue this year because of Dianne Wilkerson’s write-in campaign for the local state Senate seat. [See related article.] But you can also write in anyone for any office.

Here’s how to write in a candidate:

• Find the Blank Space. Each office on the ballot will have the names of candidates listed under it. At the end of the list will be a small blank space for write-ins. It will say “Write-In Space Only” in the space. There will be a small empty oval next to the space.

• Double-Check the Office. Make sure you are choosing the right write-in space. Elected offices sometimes have weird technical names. For example, the US Senate seat is listed as “Senator in Congress,” while the state Senate seat is listed as “Senator in General Court.”

• Writing In a Name. Write your candidate’s name in the blank space. Make sure it is spelled correctly and is easy to read. You should also write down the candidate’s address. But the most important thing is getting the candidate’s name right. Then fill in the blank oval next to it.

• Using a Sticker. A candidate may give you a pre-printed sticker with their name and address on it so that you don’t have to write it down yourself. In that case, you can simply stick the sticker over the blank space. Then fill in the blank oval next to it.

• Getting Help. You are allowed to bring campaign ads, personal notes, newspaper articles and similar items into the voting booth. Use them to make sure you get the candidate’s name right. If you have trouble understanding the ballot, you can ask a poll worker for help. If you make a mistake on the ballot, you are allowed to ask for a new ballot up to two times.

John Ruch

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