Every election, in every year, some voters decide that the candidates they see printed on their ballot are just not to their liking.
Those are times when people choose to go with a “write-in” candidate rather than the common candidates.
It has happened many times in political history when a write-in candidate has won their race and of course gone on to be very successful. In Southern political history, one of the most notable write-in candidate winners was when Strom Thurmond won the race for one of South Carolina’s US Senate seats in 1954 without having his name on the formal ballot.
Alabama like many other states allows for write-in candidates as well.
When you receive your ballot, you will see a blank line just below the designated candidates for each party in each race. If you want to write in a candidate, go right ahead.
If you’re voting for someone who is running a write-in campaign, be sure to spell the person’s name correctly. If you don’t, your ballot will not receive the benefit of the doubt and the vote will be counted for the “person” with the misspelled name.
(Sidenote: It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the Alaska race for US Senator. Lisa Murkowski is not an easy name to spell)
Many people also like to use the ballot as a time to play a joke or two on elections staff. But remember, only the names of real people will be counted.
“Bear Bryant always gets a lot of votes, I think he may have even finished very high in one race one year,” says Trey Granger, Director of Elections for Montgomery County.
“In a year like this, who knows?” Granger says jokingly. Cam Newton could win both the Heisman and a state seat somewhere. Mark Ingram will probably get votes too.”
As a matter of fact, people have written in the name ” Donald Duck,” not just because of the cartoon, but there was at one point someone actually named Donald Duck who lived in Alabama.
Montgomery County has about 750 staff working on election night and they are prepared for write-in votes. Many voting tabulators in Alabama have equipment where “normal” ballots fall into one stack, and ballots with write-ins fall into another stack. That way, elections staff can easily access the ballots with writing on them, not just ones with filled in bubbles.
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