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How to Write In a Candidate

using Electronic Voting

Find & mark the  "Write-in" or "Other"  option.

The machine will then prompt you where to write.

Write as neatly as you can. 

There shouldn't be a problem scanning the card. 

If there is, ask for help

& tell the poll workers you used the write-in option.

Before the election call your county electoral office.

Remind them people will be writing in.

Ask them to make sure those votes are tabulated. 



The best way to find a candidate who'll pass reforms?

Run yourself!

 Election Day is November 3, 2020.


​​Do you have experience with the law or community organizing?  

Are you known in your community? 

Do people come to you for help solving problems?

Are you good at negotiation?

Do you keep your head and your values under pressure?

Serve in the U.S. Senate or House of Representatives!

Give 2 to 6 years to your country to pass the reforms we so badly need.

It's a great experience. And who knows? You may decide to stay!

As a nonpartisan write-in candidate, you have nothing to lose. No-cost campaign methods are always available*. 

Campaign as much or as little as you want. 

Your state's website has instructions on how to run as a nonpartisan write-in candidate.

You will have to file with the FEC. Good starting points

The United States Election Assistance Commission ( and the National Association of State Election Directors ( have information on all aspects of running a lawful campaign. State Election Offices are listed at www.ballotpedia.comIf you can't find particular information, e-mail us

Good luck! 

Requirements for Nonpartisan Write-in Candidates:

Campaign finance: State requirements vary, but you will need to file with the FEC (see above). 
Petition circulators: State requirements vary. Check.

(S) indicates one or more Senate seats available in 2016. Whether or not the Supreme Court vacancy is filled, because of the Court's age others may become available during the next administration, and the Senate confirms them.   

It's always a good idea to notify the relevant local Boards of Elections that you are running a write-in campaign, so they'll be sure to have enough staff to hand-count ballots if needed.

Free Congress - Be Congress!

*There are a lot of informative sites on planning and running a campaign, although most also want to sell products. Caveat emptor. Try, and the strategies in Get Involved and Using Ballot Initiatives and Statutes. Incumbents' voting records can be found at, and a series on planning your first campaign is at 

New resources:,,,,

Free Congress - Be Congress!

Be Congress | Be a Write-in Candidate

   Article I, Section 2: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year

by the People of the several States, and the Electors of each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the more numerous Branch of the State Legislature. No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty-five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States,

and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen."

   Amendment XVII: "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State,

elected by the people thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote."  

  Article I, Section 3:  "No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years

a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen."

Every State - You must also file a Statement of Candidacy with the FEC ( Questions? or (800)424-9530

Alabama - No filing requirements. (  

Alaska - You may only run in the general election. File a Letter of Intent (form A33) and a Financial Disclosure Statement with the Director of any Division of Elections office; deadline 5PM, Nov. 1. (   

Arizona - Register via the Candidate Portal (; between May 31 and 5PM, July 19. If you're only filing for the general election, file between July 20 and 5PM, Sept 27. More information is at Check with the Clean Elections Commission: with a petition, an unfinanced candidate may be eligible for some funding (

(S)Arkansas - Write-ins must run in the primary. File a written notice of write-in candidacy with the county board of election commissioners of each county in which you seek election, and with the Secretary of State, between January 1 and 3PM, March 1. Information for candidates: 

(S)California - Write-ins must run in the primary and be one of the top two vote-getters to run in the general election. Between April 9 and May 22 file a Statement of Write-in Candidacy with the elections official of the county where you are running. The statement must contain the following information: your name & complete residence address, a declaration that you are running as a write-in candidate, the office for which you are running, the date of the election, and your 10-year party preference history. Between April 9 and May 22 circulate nomination papers for signatures within the jurisdiction. For the Senate, you'll need no less than 65 or more than 100 signatures; for the House, no less than 40 or more than 60. Leave these with the county elections official of the county where the signers reside. Signers must be voters in the relevant district or political subdivision. (

Colorado - File an Affidavit of Intent for Write-In with the Colorado Secretary of State (e-mail to by April 20. The form is at

(S)Connecticut - Register, with the Connecticut Secretary of the State, form 16(ED-622); by 4PM on August 8 for the primary and October 23 for the general. You must run as nonpartisan. ( 

(S)Delaware - File a Write-in Candidate Declaration (at with the State Commissioner of Elections by 4:30, September 30. There's no filing fee for independents. File Campaign Financing reports with Delaware as well as the FEC. ( This page links to the Commissioner and the FEC.

(S)Florida -  File a candidate oath, form D5-DE27A with the Florida Division of Elections between April 16 and May 4. No filing fee or petitions. For a House seat you must live in the district at the time of qualifying. (

Georgia - File a notarized Notice of Intention to be a Write-in Candidate with the Georgia Secretary of State; deadline, March 16 for the primary. No petitions are needed for a nonpartisan candidate. A Pauper's Affidavit is available if you can't afford the fee, but that requires a petition. Then publish a notice in a newspaper with general circulation in the state by March 21 for the primary or September 4 for the general, and file a copy of the published notice with an affidavit that the notice has been published (filled out by the candidate or the newspaper) with the Georgia Secretary of State; deadline for the general, September 10. (

(S)Hawaii - No write-ins. You must run in the primary. File, with the Office of Elections, an Application for a Nomination Paper. Nomination papers, deadline 4:30PM, June 5, must include your ballot name (no more than 27 spaces including spaces and punctuation; no titles; nicknames OK; Hawaiian &/or English equivalents OK), your home address and county, and a sworn certification by self-subscribing oath affirming that you're qualified for the office and that all information provided is true and correct. Nomination papers must be signed by 25 eligible registered voters who state name, home address, date of birth, the last four digits of their Social Security number, and a statement verifying that as a person qualified to vote for you they nominate you for that office. The filing fee is $75; no personal checks. Nobody with a felony conviction may apply until final discharge. (elections/

Idaho - File a notarized Declaration of Intent form (SC-10A) and an Appointment and Certification of Political Treasurer form (CI) with the Idaho Secretary of State; filing deadline 5PM, October 9 for the general election. Contact with questions. (

Illinois - File a notarized Declaration of Intent to be a Write-in Candidate with the county clerk or board of election commissioners of the relevant district, indicating the office sought; deadline 61 days before the primary. If you win the primary, file a Statement of Candidacy with the State Board of Elections within 10 days.  (www/

(S)Indiana - File a Declaration of Intent to be a Write-in Candidate in 2018 (form CAN-3) with the Election Division of the Indiana Secretary of State; deadline noon, February 9 for the primary, July 16 for the general. Contact the Office of the Secretary of the Senate or the House Standards of Official Conduct for information on filing a Statement of Economic Interest. ( 

Iowa - Write-ins have no filing requirements.  

Kansas - No filing requirements for the Senate. For a House seat, file an Affidavit of Candidacy with the Secretary of State by noon, June 1; fee $20.

Kentucky - You may only run in the general election. File a notarized Declaration of Intent to be a Write-In Candidate, form SBE/SOS/01, an Appointment of Campaign Treasurer form and a $50 filing fee with the Kentucky Secretary of State, Elections Division; deadline 4PM, October 26. Checks must be payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer. Download financial reporting forms and a Guide to Campaign Finance from Questions? Contact (

Louisiana - No write-ins. File a Notice of Candidacy form and either a $600 filing fee or a nominating petition. The filing fee can't be paid by personal check; it need not be paid by candidates currently serving in the US Armed Forces. A House seat requires 1,000 signatures. Signatures may be collected starting (date). Signers must be registered and eligible to vote for the office sought. The Notice of Candidacy form includes your name and home address (with parish, ward or precinct), the office sought, your party affiliation ("no party"), and an affirmation that you're registered in the relevant district, eligible, not currently under an order of imprisonment or disqualified for a felony, have filed (or weren't required to file) state and federal tax returns for the past 5 years; you must acknowledge that you're subject to the Campaign Finance Disclosure Act and owe no fines, fees or penalties and have filed all needed reports; and that you know all pertinent election rules and  laws, especially those prohibiting political campaign signs on public property. You must take an hour of ethics education and training. (

(S)Maine -

2018 guidebook:

File a declaration of write-in candidacy with the Maine Secretary of State; deadline 5PM, April 13 for the primary, September 7 for the general. The form is available at Forms for the general aren't available until after the primary. A write-in for the primary must be enrolled in the relevant party by March 15 and meet all other requirements for a candidate filing a petition for nomination by primary (check the 2018 guidebook). At least 4,000 votes are needed to win the primary for Senate; 2,000 for Representative. At least one vote is needed to win the general.  A write-in for the general may write in a qualified party, or a political designation that: doesn't exceed 3 words; doesn't include your name; doesn't include the designation (or abbreviation) of a qualified party; isn't obscene, contemptuous, profane, or prejudicial; doesn't promote abusive or unlawful activity or violate any Maine law. Check with the Clean Elections Commission: with a petition, an unfinanced candidate may be eligible for some funding.

(S)Maryland - File a certificate of candidacy with the Maryland State Board of Elections and a financial disclosure form with the Maryland State Ethics Commission. No filing fee. File by mail or in person (you'll need ID).  Deadline: either 5PM on October 31, or seven days after a total expenditure of at least $51 is made to promote the candidacy. But file as early as possible! Early filers may appear on candidate lists including the write-in list on specimen ballots; early filers may also designate challengers and poll watchers (love you, Maryland!)


(S)Massachusetts - You should notify your local election officials of your intent to run as a write-in. Check with them for any particular requirements in their jurisdiction. Write-ins must run in the primary. To proceed to the general you must be the top vote-getter and have at least as many votes as signatures would have been needed to have been printed on the ballot. If you win the primary file a written acceptance of the nomination with the Secretary of the Commonwealth within 13 days. Be a sticker candidate! Write-ins or stickers should include the candidate's name and address. These votes are counted for the office where the name is written or the sticker placed. See the site for more information. (

(S)Michigan - File a Write-in Candidate Declaration of Intent with the Michigan Secretary of State Bureau of Elections at Lansing, unless you are filing for Representative for District 13; in that case file with the Wayne County Clerk. Deadline: 4PM, July 27 for the primary (required if you are running for the Democratic, Republican or Libertarian nomination); 4PM, October 26 for the general. E-mail any questions to The form is available online. (

(S)Minnesota - No write-ins in the primary. File a request to have your votes tallied with the Minnesota Secretary of State; deadline October 30. The form is at  You must not have been convicted of bribery, perjury, or any offense carrying more than a 1-year sentence, unless pardoned. Exceptions: manslaughter, violation of state or US tax laws unless it also involved misuse or abuse of office or putting money into a candidate's hands. Send questions to (

(S)Mississippi - No special filing requirements or fees. Write-ins are only tabulated if a candidate printed on the ballot dies, resigns, withdraws or is removed. (

(S)Missouri - File a Declaration of Intent to Be a Write-in Candidate with the Missouri Secretary of State; deadline 5PM, October 26. It's not necessary to file a declaration if there are no candidates on the ballot for that office. (

(S)Montana - Write-ins: email the Secretary of State for instructions at (In 2016: File a Declaration of Intent and Oath of Candidacy with the Montana Secretary of State and pay the $1,740 filing fee. If you're indigent, file an Indigent Declaration of Intent, the Oath of Candidacy and a Petition for Nomination with 10,194 certified signatures for a House seat; deadline. Signers must live and be registered to vote in the relevant district. If you win, file a Declaration of Acceptance.) (

(S)Nebraska - You must file a notarized write-in affidavit (available online) with the Secretary of State, Elections Division. The deadline for the primary is May 4; for the general, October 26 (

(S)Nevada - No write ins. Check their website for the independent process, which is involved.  (

New Hampshire - No special filing requirements.E-mail them with any questions at The filing period is from June 6 to June 15.(  

(S)New Jersey - No write-ins. Independent candidates must file a notarized Oath of Allegiance, a Certificate of Acceptance, a notarized Affidavit of the Circulator and a petition signed by 100 registered voters in the relevant district for a House seat; deadline 4PM, April 2 for the Senate,4PM, June 5 for the House. You can make an appointment to file the petition. More info: for the Senate: or for the House: (

(S)New Mexico - File a Declaration of Intent to be a Write-in Candidate and a Candidate Campaign Committee Registration Form. Major-party write-ins file for the primary on March 20, 9AM-5PM. The filing day for general election write-ins is June 28, 9AM-5PM. You can't run as a write-in in the general if you were in the primary. Email questions to 

(S)New York - Write-ins may only run in the general. File a Certificate of Candidacy (available at, deadline, October 16.  (

North Carolina - No write-ins in the primary. File a Declaration of Intent and a petition with 500 signatures for a Senate seat or 250 for a House seat,  with the State Board of Elections office. Register a Notice of Intent to Circulate a Petition with the relevant county Board of Elections. Petitions are void one year after signing. File the petition before noon, February 28. No filing fees. You don't have to qualify but must be eligible to vote. (

(S)North Dakota - File a Certificate of Write-in Candidacy (SFN 50599) and a Statement of Interests (SFN 10172) with the North Dakota Secretary of State; deadline for the primary, 4PM, May 22; for the general, 4PM, October 16. (

(S)Ohio - File a Declaration of Intent with the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State's Elections Division, Columbus, and pay a filing fee of $150 for a Senate seat or $85 for a House seat. Deadline 4PM, February 26 for the primary, 4PM, August 27 for the general. (

Oklahoma - No write-ins.    (

Oregon - No filing forms. Within 3 days of receiving a contribution or making an expenditure, establish a campaign bank account and file a Statement of Organization designating a candidate committee. File online using ORESTAR. If you win, file a Write-in Candidate Acceptance Form (SEC 141); deadline June 21 for the primary, December 13 for the general. Write-ins are tallied as a group unless there's no candidate on the ballot or the total votes exceed the total for the candidate with the most votes. Send questions to (

(S)Pennsylvania - No filing requirements. If you're nominated in the primary, file a Statement of Interests with the State Ethics Commission ( by June 14 and pay the filing fee by August 13. If you win the general, file the Statement of Interests by December 6 and pay the filing fee. The filing fee for a Senate seat is $200; for the House, $150. Send questions to  ( ) 

(S)Rhode Island - No filing requirements, but notify the relevant Board of Canvassers of your intention to run a write-in campaign.(

South Carolina- Notify the state or district election commission that you are running as a write-in candidate.  If defeated in a party primary, you may not run as a write-in in the general. (

South Dakota - No write-ins. 


(S)Tennessee - File a Certificate of Write-in Candidacy (SS-3072) with the Tennessee Coordinator of Elections and for a House seat in each relevant county; deadline 12 noon, June 18 for the primary; 12 noon, September 17 for the general. The form is at

(S)Texas - File a Declaration of Write-in Candidacy with either a filing fee of $3,125 for a House seat, $5.000 for a Senate seat, or a petition with 47,183 signatures for a Senate seat or 235,915 signatures for a House seat, with the Texas Secretary of State between July 21 and 5PM, August 20. If you were defeated in a party primary you may not run as a write-in in the general. 


(S)Utah - File a Declaration of Candidacy, a Financial Disclosure/Conflict of Interest form, and a Pledge of Fair Campaign Practices (optional) with the Office of the Utah Lieutenant Governor; deadline, 5PM, September 7. No filing fee. (

(S)Vermont - No filing requirements or filing fee. If you spend or receive over $500, you must register in the Vermont Campaign Finance System within 10 days and file scheduled reports.The contribution limit is $4,080 from a single source. (

(S)Virginia - No special filing requirements or fees. (

(S)Washington - File a Declaration of Candidacy with the filing fee of 1% of the relevant salary or a petition with the same number of signatures as dollars in the fee (ask them for assistance), with the Washington Secretary of State, Elections Division; deadline, the day ballots must be mailed. A petition must be in substantially the following form: "(FILING FEE PETITION FOR CANDIDATES) We, the undersigned registered voters of (the state of Washington or the district for which the nomination is made) hereby petition that the name of (candidate's name) be printed on the official ballot for the office of (insert office)." Ask the Secretary of State's office if the way you modify this for a write-in candidacy passes muster. You may not be a write-in in the generl if you were in a primary, or if you're on the ballot for a non-temporary office (except precinct committee officer). (

(S)West Virginia - File a Write-in Candidate's Certificate of Announcement with the West Virginia Secretary of State; deadline, September 20. No filing fee or signatures required. A list of official write-in candidates is posted in each polling place during early voting and on Election Day (love you, West Virginia!) (

(S)Wisconsin - File a Campaign Registration Statement (ETHCF-1) with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board; deadline 12 noon, November 2. Unregistered write-ins are only tallied if one or more candidates dies or if there's no candidate on the ballot for a given party. (

(S)Wyoming - You'll be notified by August 31 if you win the primary. File an application for candidacy and the filing fee with the Wyoming Secretary of State. The deadline is two days after the election. Are you feeling lucky? (