WRITE-IN VOTES IN AMERICAN ELECTIONS-VIGILANCE REQUESTED NOW
By Kevin Stoda, an overseas Write-In voter in Kuwait
Some people say that Write-In voting is a scam.
Here is one article on Florida 's write-in voting system from earlier this spring. The author of this Florida article claims, "Write-in candidates pay no qualifying fee, file no petitions and their names don't appear on the ballot. But they can, by their mere presence, close a primary that would otherwise be open. The scam is now so commonplace that a 2006 Senate analysis of 30 legislative races between a primary winner and a write-in pegged the average margin of victory at 99.8 percent. In six races, the write-in candidates got no votes, including their own."
Other people, like some of Ron Paul's supporters just one year ago, saw Write-In Voting as his only hope.
At that time in late 2007, one blogger wrote, "I can see No Way In Hell Ron Paul will get nominated by the Republican Party . . . . , the only way it will happen is to write him in as president on the ballot."
Other Americans, especially unpaid or underpaid election officials and volunteers, complain that Write-In votes just take too long.
For example, it has been written recently in the press in Clarksville , Tennessee that on November 4, 2008 Write-Ins will cause undue stress: "By the time most folks go to bed on election night, the winner of the 22nd District state Senate race might not be determined. Then again, when people wake up for work the next day, results might still be unknown."
WRITE-INs in AMERICA
In 1920, in Eugene V. Debs famous candidacy from prison (for opposing WWI), this Socialist received a record one-million write-in votes.
In the 1964 primary in many New England States, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. trounced Barry Goldwater through write-in votes for the post of the Republican nominee for U.S. president that year.
As well, the perennial-candidate Ralph Nader first ran in New Hampshire for President of the US as a write-in candidate in 1992.
As far as the U.S. Congress goes, several candidates have done quite well as write-ins in those states which permit it. Strom Thurmond ran and won as a write-in candidate for U.S. Senate in 1954. Others have won seats in the House.
As recently as this 2008, Peter Welch became the Republican (as well as Democratic candidate) for Congress through write-in votes in the Republican primary. The Republican Party ran no candidate this year. (He is supported thus by both the Republican and Democratic party this November 4.)
Democrats and Republicans have falsely claimed that "Write-in candidates are a holdover from the time when ballot papers were blank, and had no names printed on them at all. Gradually, the ballots were arranged to have all the names of the candidates printed on them, with a 'write-in' provision for latecomers."
On the other hand, one also needs to recognize, "Many states and municipalities allow for write-in votes in a partisan primary where no candidate is listed on the ballot to have the same functional effect as nominating petitions: for example, if there are no Reform Party members on the ballot for state general assembly and a candidate receives more than 200 write-in votes when the primary election is held (or the other number of signatures that were required for ballot access), the candidate will be placed on the ballot on that ballot line for the general election. In most places, this provision is in place for non-partisan elections as well."