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Thursday, April 27, 2023

Write-in Candidates

Primary elections are underway, which got me to thinking about the following problem. Suppose I want to vote for my neighbor, who is eligible to serve in the office for which I am voting. But my neighbor is not a candidate. So I march down to the polling place and ask to write in her name. The poll worker responds "That's not allowed under state law." I respond "But I have a constitutional right to vote for whomever I want who is eligible!"

Turns out, though, that you don't. Some states do not permit write-in votes, in toto or for certain elections. Most states do in some form, which raises the question of whether such a right should be recognized. (Granted, if I can write-in someone I can also say "Mickey Mouse" or "Abe Lincoln," but let's stick to living, eligible people for the moment.) There is good sense in saying that voting rights should not be restricted by the ballot. U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton did talk about write-in candidates, but I'm not sure what other cases have.

Posted by Gerard Magliocca on April 27, 2023 at 09:42 AM | Permalink


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