Thinking of writing in a candidate? How to make sure it counts
If you’re not happy with the names on your ballot, there are a few things you should know before writing one in — to make sure your vote counts.
Despite a national social media movement to write-in Bernie Sanders for president, votes for him won’t count here. In Alaska, all write-in candidates must be registered and Sanders, who swept the Democratic primary in Alaska, is not.
Elsewhere on the ballot, there are a few local write-ins who are registered .
In order for any votes a write-in candidate has gathered to count, voters must spell the candidate’s name correctly and remember to fill in the oval next to it.
Republican Stephen Wright is running as a write-in against Congressman Don Young.
“Yeah you don’t have the party, you don’t have the flyers that go out to the houses,” Wright said of the challenge. “I do believe I have the perfect name.”
Wright and other write-in candidates have had to find creative ways to make their names stick, so that voters will remember how to spell them on the ballot.
“‘Fill in the oval, write-in Wright and that’s it, and you’ve made the right choice,'” Wright said, reading from one of his campaign cards. The slogan is also written on a gold coin he hands out to voters.
Wright said he’s following in the footsteps Sen. Lisa Murkowski, the first person to mount a successful write-in campaign since 1954. She lost the primary election in 2010, but beat out Republican candidate Joe Miller at the polls in November.
“There were so many gimmicks, of course we had our infamous wristbands,” Murkowski said of her campaign strategy at the time, pointing to a bracelet on her wrist marked, “fill it in, write it in.”
“It was a very organic education campaign, we did our spelling bee commercial that won national recognition,” Murkowski said. “It was fun, it was totally fun.”
Wright may have an easier name to spell than Murkowski, but he recognized that he doesn’t have as much campaign funding to work with, adding that he’s raised in total less than $5,000.
For a complete list of registered write-in candidates on the ballot, click here.
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