This election has seen a lot of public discourse about write-in candidates. But before you scribble in your candidate of choice, here are four things you should know:
- We count the total number of write-in votes for each office in an election. However, we don’t count how many votes each write-in candidate receives unless one of two things happens: a) For single-candidate races: the total number of write-in votes are more than the votes cast for the single printed candidate on the ballot for the same position or b) For multi-candidate races: the total number of write-in votes is more than the difference between the top candidates. In that case, we tabulate how many votes each write-in candidate receives for that office.
- While it is a voter’s right to write in a candidate of their choice, we recommend that you pick a real person and not a fictional character such as Mickey Mouse. Processing ballots with write-ins for imaginary candidates takes our staff extra time and costs money.
- Write-in candidates in King County have won in smaller races before. A write-in candidate unseated the incumbent during the 2011 mayor’s race in the City of Pacific.
- There are two kinds of write-in candidates: undeclared and declared. A declared candidate files as a write-in but their name will not appear on the ballot. However, every variation of their name that is written in will be counted as a vote. So if voters write in John Smith or Jon Smyth, both spellings would count as a vote. An undeclared candidate is one that has not filed and is promoting their candidacy on their own. Their name, however, must be written as the exact spelling. No variations of their name will be counted as a vote.
If you have any questions about write-in candidates, give us a call at 206-296-VOTE.