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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.
Every State - You must also file a Statement of Candidacy with the FEC (www.fec.gov/ans/answers_candidate.shtml). Questions? info@FEC.gov or (800)424-9530
This information is current as of June 14,2020. There may be further changes due to COVID-19. Check with your state!
(S)Alabama - No filing requirements. The sore-loser law does not apply to write-ins. No sticker or stamp votes. Write-ins are only counted if the total write-ins is greater than the difference between the number of votes for the first- and second-place candidates. If only one candidate is on the ballot write-ins are only counted if the total number of write-in votes are greater than that candidate received. If counted they are counted on the 7th day after the election. You can also request to have write-in votes counted for a particular contest by writing to the Secretary of State, deadline 5PM on the Friday after the election, with a bond or certified check to cover the cost as certified by the Secretary of State. (www.alabamavotes.gov)
(S)Alaska - You may only run in the general election, unless you ran in a primary and lost. File a Letter of Intent (form A33) and a Financial Disclosure Statement with the Director of any Division of Elections office; deadline 5PM, five days before the general election. Write-in votes are first counted as a group. They will only be counted individually if the total for all is enough to win or to come in second within the percentage needed for a recount. (www.elections.alaska.gov/doc/forms/Updated/B05WF.pdf)
(S)Arizona - Register via the Candidate Portal
(https://apps.azsos.gov/apps/election/candidateportal); file for the general election between March 7 and 5PM, Sept 24. More information is at https://www.azsos.gov/elections/running-office/running-federal-office. Check with the Clean Elections Commission: with a petition, an unfinanced candidate may be eligible for some funding (email@example.com)
(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 November 4, 2019 and 3PM, November 11, 2019. Information for candidates: www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections/information-for-candidates
California - Write-ins must run in the primary and be one of the top two vote-getters to run in the general election. Between January 6 and February 18 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 January 6 and February 18 circulate nomination papers for signatures within the jurisdiction. For the House, no less than 40 or more than 60 signatures. 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.
(S)Colorado – File an Affidavit of Intent for Write-In with the Colorado Secretary of State (e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org) by 110 days before the general election. The form is at https://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Candidates/WriteIn.html
Connecticut - Register, with the Connecticut Secretary of the State, forms ED-601 and 602b by 4PM on October 20 for the general. These include a letter to the Secretary of State, Candidate’s Statement of Consent, Verification of Names of Nominating Petition Candidate, and Statement of Endorsement. You must run as nonpartisan or start a new party, form ED-601. For Congress you must file Nominating Petitions. Call for an appointment to receive your petitions in person, (860) 509-6100. Signature requirements vary by district. Because of COVID-19 special instructions apply in a downloadable PDF. Information is at portal.ct.gov/-/media/SOTS/Election-Services/Nominating-Petitions/Nominating-Petitions
(S)Delaware - File a Write-in Candidate Declaration 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.
(https://elections.delaware.gov/information/elections/general.shtml) This page has links to the Commissioner and the FEC.
Florida - File a candidate oath, form DS-DE 306WP with the Florida Division of Elections between 8 AM, June 23- noon, June 30. No filing fee or petitions. You must provide names and addresses of 29 persons to serve as Electors in the Department of State by September 1. For a House seat you must live in the district at the time of qualifying. (dos.myflorida.com/elections/candidates-committees/qualifying)
(S)Georgia - File a notarized Notice of Intention to be a Write-in Candidate with the Georgia Secretary of State; deadline, September 8. No petitions are needed for a nonpartisan candidate. The fee is $5,220.00 for Senator or House Representative. A Pauper's Affidavit is available if you can't afford the fee. It requires a petition. Publish a notice in a newspaper with general circulation in the state by September 8, 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 by September 14.
GA – Sen Loeffler’s seat: Rod Mack, write-in
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 2, 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, can be waived if you have a petition signed by registered voters who are 0.5% of the registered voters in that district at the last election. Bring your ID. If you’re not a member of a party you must get at least 10% of the votes cast for that office or the same as or more than the nominated candidate got when nominated. (elections/hawaii.gov/candidates/candidate-filing)
(S)Idaho – For independents, file a notarized Declaration of Candidacy form (SC-1A) and Petition for Candidacy (SC-2A) with the Idaho Secretary of State, with 500 signatures for House, 1,000 signatures for the Senate. Partisan write-in filing dates: March 2-13, June 27 for the general, partisan write-ins must run in the primary. Nonpartisan write-ins: filing deadline Sept. 18. Contact email@example.com with questions.
(S)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 election cookcountyclerk.com/default/files/pdfs/2020%20IL%20Candidates%20Guide_0.pdf
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, July 6. 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. (https://www.in.gov/sos/elections/files/2020%20Candidate%20Guide.MOVEDPRIMARY5.pdf)
(S)Iowa - Write-ins have no filing requirements.
(S)Kansas - No filing requirements for the Senate or House, but to be sure the state tabulates your votes file an affidavit of write-in candidacy with the Secretary of State. An independent has to file this by noon on the day before the August primary. The fee is 1% of the office’s salary plus $20.
(S)Kentucky - You may only run in the general election, and only for one office. 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 23. Checks must be payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer. Download financial reporting forms and a Guide to Campaign Finance form http://www.kref.ky.gov. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org. (app.sos.ky.gov/ElectionsDYC/)
(S)Louisiana - No write-ins. Qualify at the Secretary of State’s office. 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 between 120 and 30 days before the qualifying period begins. 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 (https://www.sos.la.gov/ElectionsAndVoting/BecomeACandidate/QualifyForAnElection/Pages/ default.aspx)
(S)Maine - 2020 guidebook: www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/candidate/pdfs/2020guide.pdf
File a Declaration of Write-in Candidacy with the Maine Secretary of State; deadline 5PM, September 4 for the general. The form is available at www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/write-in.htm. 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 16 and meet all other requirements for a candidate filing a petition for nomination by primary (check the 2020 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.
Maryland - File a notarized Certificate of Candidacy with the Maryland State Board of Elections by e-mail (email@example.com), fax (410.974.5415) or mail with a Statement of Organization (fillable PDF), and a financial disclosure form. No filing fee. Deadline: either 5PM on October 15, 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. It looks like they no longer require write-ins to win the primary to run in the general, and there’s no minimum number of votes. (If so, yay, Massachusetts! But check with the state.) If you do 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 lots more information on stickers and teaching people how to write you in. (sec.state.ma.us/ele/elestkr/stkridx.htm)
(S)Michigan – File a Write-in Candidate Declaration of Intent with the Michigan Secretary of State Bureau of Elections at Lansing. Deadline: 4PM, two Fridays before the general. E-mail any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The form is available online. (michigan.gov/documents/Dec-Int-Write-In_94360_7.pdf) Do you want to be a judge? The only 2020 candidate for the 30th Circuit Court, Non-Incumbent Position dropped out. There’s nobody running. File by June 19th at 4 PM with a petition signed by 500 valid signatures. See the site for more information. michigan.gov/sos/0,4670,7-127-1633_8721---,00.html
(S)Minnesota - File a request to have your votes tallied with the Minnesota Secretary of State; deadline October 27. The form is at www.sos.state.mn.us/media/3008/request-write-in-votes-be-counted-for-federal-and-stateoffice.pdf You can’t file for more than one office in the same year. sos.state.mn.us/election-administration-campaigns/become-a-candidate/write-in-candidates/ Send questions to email@example.com
(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. To run as an independent on the ballot, file a Statement of Intent and a petition with 1,000 state voters’ signatures (Senate) or 200 district voters’ signatures (House) and $1,000 fee (Senate) or $500 (House), certified by your circuit or municipal clerk. You may not have been convicted of a felony unless pardoned. See the site if you need more info. (sos.ms.gov/Elections-Voting/Pages/Candidate-Qualifying-Forms.aspx)
Missouri - File a Declaration of Intent to Be a Write-in Candidate with the Missouri Secretary of State; deadline 5PM, October 23. The form is on the site. It's not necessary to file a declaration if there are no candidates on the ballot for that office. (sos.mo.gov/elections/candidates#Writeins)
(S)Montana - Write-ins: File a Declaration of Intent and the filing fee ($1,740 for Senate or House) with the Secretary of State by 5PM, September 9. If you win, file a Declaration of Acceptance by November 13. sosmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/info-for-write-in-candidates.pdf Be a sticker candidate! The site has details at http://sosmt.gov/elections/write-ins. If you're indigent, file an Indigent Declaration of Intent, the Oath of Candidacy and a Petition for Nomination with certified signatures: 12,694 for a Senate seat or 12, 834 for a House seat; deadline. Signers must live and be registered to vote in the relevant district. Signatures must be submitted by August 31. http://sosmt.gov/elections/information/
(S)Nebraska - You must file a notarized write-in affidavit (available online at sos.nebraska.gov/sites/sos.nebraska.gov/files/doc/20.%20Write%20In%20Affidavit%20Form.pdf) and the filing fee ($1,740 for Senate or House) with the Secretary of State, Elections Division. The deadline for the general is October 23. More info: sos.nebraska.gov/sites/sos.nebraska.gov/files/doc/2020%20Candidate%20Filing%20Guide.pdf
Nevada - No write ins. Candidacy must be declared between March 2 and 5 PM, March 13. Check their website for the independent process, which is somewhat involved. (nvsos.gov/sos/elections/candidate-information/filing-for-non-judicial-office)
(S)New Hampshire - No special filing requirements. E-mail them with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. The filing period is from June 3 to June 12 but write-ins don’t file.(sos.nh.gov/elections.aspx)
(S)New Jersey - No write-ins. Independent candidates must file a notarized Oath of Allegiance, a Certificate of Acceptance (you can have a three-word slogan on the ballot!) and a petition signed by 800 registered voters for a Senate seat, or 100 in the relevant district for a House seat; email (it may take more than 1 email) to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, deadline 4PM, July 7. More info: state.nj.us/state/elections/candidate-information.shtml
(S)New Mexico - File a Declaration of Intent to be a Write-in Candidate, a Candidate Campaign Committee Registration Form and a Financial Disclosure Form. The filing day for general election write-ins is June 25, 9AM-5PM. You can't run as a write-in in the general if you were in the primary. sos.state.nm.us/candidate-and-campaigns/how-to-become-a-candidate/2020-candidate-information-guide/ Email questions to email@example.com.
New York – No special filing requirements for Congress.
(S)North Carolina - Info on write-ins to Congress is at ncsbe.gov/Portals/0/Forms/2020/WRITE-IN%20Petition%202020%20krl.pdf. File a Petition Request Form with the NC State Board of Elections (ncsbe.gov/Portals/0/Forms/PetitionRequestForm.PDF). File a petition with 500 signatures (www.ncsbe.gov/petition-info) with the NC State Board of Elections office, deadline, July 21. They will return it to you verified. File the verified petition with a Declaration of Intent (ncsbe.gov/Portals/0/FilesP/Petitions/WriteInDeclarationIntent.pdf) before noon, August 5. No filing fees. (https://www.ncsbe.gov)
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 general, 4PM, October 13. Info at vip.sos.nd.gov/pdfs/Portals/running-congress.pdf
Ohio - File a Declaration of Intent with the Office of the Ohio Secretary of State's Elections Division, Columbus, form 13-C (ohiosos.gov/globalassets/elections/forms/13-C.pdf), and pay a filing fee of $85 for a House seat. Deadline 4PM, August 24 for the general. ohiosos.gov/globalassets/publications/election/2020_crg.pdf
(S)Oklahoma - No write-ins.
(S)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 December 14 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 firstname.lastname@example.org (sos.oregon.gov/elections/Documents/statecandidates.pdf)
Pennsylvania - No filing requirements. If you win the general, file the Statement of Interests with the State Ethics Commission (www.ethics.pa.gov) by December 6 and pay the filing fee. The filing fee for the House is $150. Send questions to RAemail@example.com. (www.dos.pa.gov/VotingElections/CandidatesCommittees/RunningforOffice/Documents/GENERAL%20INFORMATION%20ABOUT%20RUNNING%20FOR%20%20PUBLIC%20OFFICE%20Rev5.31.17.pdf
(S)Rhode Island - No filing requirements but notify the relevant Board of Canvassers of your intention to run a write-in campaign. (sos.ri.gov/divisions/Elections/Candidates)
(S)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. (https://www.scvotes.org/write-candidates)
(S)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, on the 50th day before the general election.
The form is at sos.tn.gov/products/elections/write-candidacy-certificate-form.
(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 5,000 signatures for a Senate seat or 500 signatures for a House seat, with the Texas Secretary of State between July 18 and 5PM, August 17. If you were defeated in a party primary you may not run as a write-in in the general.
Utah - File a Declaration of Candidacy, a Financial Disclosure/Conflict of Interest form, and a Pledge of Fair Campaign Practices (optional - the form, not the practices!) with the Utah Lieutenant Governor’s Office; deadline, 5PM, August 31. The filing fee can be waived by filing an affidavit of impecuniosity; you will be asked to provide evidence.
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 $4,160 from a single source. firstname.lastname@example.org
(S)Virginia - No special filing requirements or fees.
Washington - File a Declaration of Candidacy no later than 8 PM on Election Day. You must meet the qualifications for the office. Declaration forms are available at www.sos.wa.gov/elections.
(S)West Virginia - File a Write-in Candidate's Certificate of Announcement (sos.wv.gov/FormSearch/Elections/Candidate/C-7%20Write-in%20Certificate%20of%20Announcement.pdf) with the West Virginia Secretary of State; deadline, September 15. 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!)
Wisconsin - File a Campaign Registration Statement (CF-1) with the filing officer by noon, October 30. 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. (elections.wi.gov/candidates)
(S)Wyoming - File the Write-in Candidate’s Certificate of Announcement by September 15, 2020 with the Wyoming Secretary of State. No filing fee. Write-ins will appear on a list posted at each polling place during early voting and on Election Day (love you, Wyoming!) (sos.wv.gov/FormSearch/Elections/Informational/Running%20for%20Office.pdf)
Requirements for All 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 2020.
The best way to find a candidate who'll pass reforms?
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.
The United States Election Assistance Commission (www.eac.gov) and the National Association of State Election Directors (www.nased.org) have information on all aspects of running a lawful campaign. State Election Offices are listed at www.ballotpedia.com. If you can't find particular information, e-mail us atRepairRestoreSafeguard@gmail.com.
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 archive.informationactivism.org/basic1, guide.change.org, petitions.moveon.org/campaign_tips.html, campaignstrategy.org/articles/12basicguidelines.pdf, independentvoting.org, cofoe.org, and the strategies in Get Involved and Using Ballot Initiatives and Statutes. Incumbents' voting records can be found at AboutPolitics.com, and a series on planning your first campaign is at tennesseeticket.com/how-to-run-for-office/.
Free Congress - Be Congress!
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."