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Of write-ins and early voting.

October 24, 2016

Supposedly up to 5 million people have already voted early, either in person or via some form of mail-in voting.  The eventual total is supposedly going to top 40 million, which would be roughly 25% of everyone who normally bothers to vote, or 20% if the raw numbers for new registered voter totals are to be believed.

Early voters may already know what the other 75-80% has yet to discover, particularly if those include the 50 million newly registered people who have never voted before.

Many people are so put off by the tone of this campaign season that they have vowed not to vote for anyone whose name is on the ballot.  They plan on just writing in someone when they get to the polling place. Sort of a personal salute to national politics, if you will.

Is that you?

Not unless you live in one of eight states. Only AL, IA, NH, NJ, OR, PA, RI and VT allow for unrestricted write-in voting, according to one online document. South Carolina doesn’t permit write-ins at all.

DISCLAIMER: The best source of information is always your local registrar.  Check with that office before you head out to the polls.

All the other states and the District of Columbia require a candidate to file to be a write-in, sometimes as much as 90 days in advance.  That means you will probably see their names on the ballot anyway. By now those people’s names are known, so check online to see if there is a list.

Don’t know which agency to check with?  Just search for “2016 presidential candidate list” on your states dot gov website.

That brings us to the next most  popular question:

Do you have to vote for everything on the ballot?

Once again, the best source of information is your county or state voting authority, usually the registrar in your county.

However, checking with 26 states via online information, the answer is probably no.  You can leave a section blank.  What you CAN”T do is “deface”, “alter”,  or “materially change” the ballot, i.e. write in some snarky  comment or make up a fake name.

At this point, does any of it really matter?

One thing you might keep in mind, if you are considering just punting on your vote.

You are not voting for prom king or queen or picking out a new puppy.

Only two people have a shot at the presidency. One wants to create a mere cog in a global political universe, presumably to solve  “… the world’s most pressing challenges,” (italics added), if you equate her family foundation’s mission statement with her political mission.

The other wants to retain the ideal of a constitutional republic that functions as a separate, unique identity, i.e. the United States of America.

Whatever you think of the man on the ticket, that’s the one message he has never changed.

Personalities aside, voters should have the gumption to go out and vote for one national viewpoint or the other.

People, not polls, should determine election outcomes and that’s never been more true than in 2016.

So yeah, voting does kinda still matter.

From → op-ed

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