Talk:Write-in candidate

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Do they have this in England? And can you vote for yourself? :) --Richy 22:56, 1 May 2005 (UTC)

We certainly don't have it in general elections - it would count as a spoilt (invalid) paper. I'm not sure about other votes. 03:18, 5 September 2005 (UTC)
As for UK law and write-in's, i'm not sure. I'm pretty certain that the anon is right, but I think David Boothroyd would know more about this. Under North Caroilina (USA) law, you have to petition to be a write-in candidate for a partsian office. The number of names needed depends on the office. However, there are people who write-in names all the time. An election administrator in Onslow County NC once told me that voters who write-in Mickey Mouse wastes their time. In short, it's possible to be a write-in candidate, but it's a lot of work! - Hoshie | 01:57, 10 November 2005 (UTC)

In the UK(of which England is of course a part) there is no provision for 'write-in candidates' - it would count as a spoiled ballot. But as to the second part of the above question, it is possible for a candidate whose name appears on the ballot to vote for themself, assuming they are eligible to vote in the election.--Captdoc 09:51, 22 April 2006 (UTC)

Arne Carlson[edit]

According to Joe Conason, Arne Carlson did not run as a write-in candidate. Carlson was a last minute replacement candidate, and his name did appear on the ballot. Please See Conason's article at by clicking here


Having red the article I still dont undertand a few thing, so article should be changed to make it clearer Why cant a Candidate who has lost the Republican or Democratic party Primary have his name printed on the ballot box —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:41, 2 November 2010 (UTC)

wtf is this[edit]

confusing why cant peope have their name on ballot —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:27, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

For one thing, it costs money to be listed on the ballot. It is much cheaper (although it may not be entirely free) to run as a write-in. In other cases, people may want to run after the deadline has passed for being listed on the ballot. BarbadosKen (talk) 14:04, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

Laws regarding tallying write-in votes?[edit]

Curious if there are any laws requiring it - it would seem that it would be required, and yet I'm not certain it always happens. Schizombie 23:14, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Good question. --Asbl 23:49, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Registered write-in candidates versus unregistered?[edit]

Generally, I think anybody can be written in as a write-in candidate, but I have read of "registered write-in candidates." I don't know if there are perhaps some states that have laws about that and others that don't. I don't know what it means if a candidate is not registered in a jurisdiction where there are registered ones.Schizombie 11:03, 15 February 2006 (UTC) Possibly this question is related to my question above. It seems unregistered candidates where registrations are required may have their votes tossed out

Where I live, (and it's probably true in general), write-in votes are only tabulated for candidates who have officially registerd. I guess this is to avoid having a candidate win who either does not exist (Mickey Mouse), or a candidate who would not be willing to serve. --Asbl 15:43, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
That makes some sense, although many states permit candidates actually on the ballot who don't meet the legal qualifications for the office, Roger Calero and Arrin Hawkins for instance. And in the 2004 presidential election, Rhode Island tabulated six write-in votes for Mickey Mouse.Schizombie 15:57, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
As we saw in the 2000 Florida Recount controversy, there are no national standards for elections. Each state has its own standards. --Asbl 02:41, 17 February 2006 (UTC)


The article starts as if this is a generally valid phenomenon, goes on to explain how it works in US and tells us that it's not recognized in the rest of the world. If this is an American concept, the intro of the article should make it clear. If not, it should present how this is (or was) done around the world. Zocky | picture popups 10:31, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

Non-unique names?[edit]

Supposing write-in votes for 'John Smith' beat out the listed candidates - how is it determined which of several John Smiths, all theoretically eligible, has actually been elected? --Calair 10:14, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

From the intro: Most jurisdictions require write-in candidates to be registered as candidates before the election. This is usually mandatory in elections with large pools of potential office-holders, as there may be multiple people with the name that is written in. In cases where this is not the idea. Huadpe 23:03, 2 September 2006 (UTC)

In the UK..[edit]

To answer the questions above, there is no equivilent in the UK. Parties who run candidates in seats they couldn't possibly win often nominate "paper" or "paperless" candidates, who are candidates who have no leaflets or publicity, and are there often to make up the numbers, or often as spoiler names. Writing in candidates names in the UK is regarded as spoiling the ballot paper. As a three-time failed candidate, by the way, I have often seen many a paper with whole paragraphs written across it =) doktorb wordsdeeds 10:25, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

In addition it should also be noted that ballot access is a total non-issue here (we don't even need a term for it) because all a candidate needs is a £500 deposit (refundable if they get at least 5%; some elections don't even have this) and ten people in the relevant constituency to nominate them and they're on the general election ballot paper. So there's little need for an alternative way to be nominated. Timrollpickering (talk) 19:36, 27 June 2008 (UTC)


Is there a website that has documentation on how many votes any given write in candidate receives? This would be interesting information to see how many votes any particular name has tallied after a national election. I'm sure some people are writing in very funny things, which must be treated as a legitimate vote. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Niubrad (talkcontribs) 05:03, 7 February 2008

2008 Democratic Party Primary Election, Michigan[edit]

I think that the write in ballots for Barack Obama, while officially invalid, contributed to the final assignment of delegates from that state. Would this be worth referencing in the article? (talk) 23:10, 6 June 2008 (UTC)

Well is there any evidence in reliable sources for this, especially as IIRC Obama (and the other withdrawn Democrats?) urged people to vote for "Unpledged" as this would be counted towards delegate allocation if a delegation was seated, whereas write-ins wouldn't. But this is rather an extremely minor thing in the long run. Timrollpickering (talk) 21:20, 28 June 2008 (UTC)

Eugene Debs[edit]

I'm pretty sure Debs was not a write-in in most (if not all) of the areas he ran in the 1920 election. --RobbieFal (talk) 01:13, 31 January 2009 (UTC)

Allen Reichle[edit]

I recently deleted the inclusion of Allen Reichle from the article. I just want to emphasize that should Reichle win a subsequent election (either to the school district, or any other office), then it would be notable to re-post his unsuccessful write-in candidacy in the article as his first attempt at elected politics. Should he become notable for any other reason, then too it might be worth re-considering the notability of his write-in candidacy. However, as it currently stands now, I cannot see how his write-in candidacy (as good of a showing as he had) can be considered notable. Dems on the move (talk) 18:48, 16 May 2009 (UTC)


The editor

GOPThis user supports the
United States Republican Party

is intent on including a passage that Ralph Nader influenced an election by running as a write-in candidate. As everyone knows, that is a highly contentious claim no matter who you are. Some people believe it and some people don't, and both sides of the issue have been debated to death. I asked for a source to be added backing up that exact claim, per WP:V. It's immaterial if we believe it—we have to back up what we write. "Dems" (who can't possible have a POV with a username like that) keeps adding it back, the last time with a source stating that the "Democrats believe" Nader influenced the election. This is different from what we've written. I think the passage needs to be removed pending a neutral source backing up the claim, or rewritten to make it clear it is a Dem position. Am I wrong? --Andy Walsh (talk) 21:30, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

No, you are misunderstanding both my intentions and what the passage says. The 1992 write in candidacy was not influential and not notable. The only thing that makes the 1992 write in candidacy notable was his 2000 candidacy, which was very notable. There are dozens of people who run as write in candidates every election cylce, and those candidacies are not notable. Dems on the move (talk) 22:11, 28 July 2009 (UTC)
I understand that, and I understand the reason for the passage. I just want to make sure we're writing what is reflected in the sources used. Everyone loved to argue about this issue, and people still argue about it. Nader himself dismisses the claims that he unduly influenced the election. We cover our butts by providing a source for exactly what we say. Hope that makes sense. --Andy Walsh (talk) 22:16, 28 July 2009 (UTC)


The above discussion about Nader needs to address a broader question:

Obviously, any write-in candidate who wins is notable. But the article has some candidates who did not win their write-in campaigns, so we should have a criteria for notability. Below is a proposed criteria

  • Any write-in candidate who wins their write-in campaign (obvious)
  • Any candidate who wins any campaign and has once ran as a write-in candidate (covers Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, Jerry McNerney, and Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr -- in the case of Lodge, I would consider both his winning a Senate campaign by virtue of being a Senator as well as winning a few primaries)
  • Any write-in candidate who had an unusual write-in campaign (covers Eugene V. Debs who ran his write-in campaign from jail)
  • Any write-in candidate who also had a traditional campaign that although did not win, his/her candidacy did have a significant impact on the campaign (covers Ralph Nader)

Any objections or other ideas? Dems on the move (talk) 23:28, 28 July 2009 (UTC)

Debs didn't run a write-in candidacy. --RobbieFal (talk) 01:53, 26 August 2009 (UTC)
I'm nervous about bright line standards but am in agreement with the general idea per Wikipedia:Lists (stand-alone lists)#Lead and selection criteria as a large part of this article is a list.
It looks like you would be excluding people who are either notable for some other reason (including being elected to an office that's notable) who later ran an unsuccessful campaign. I'm thinking of the Nader 1992 campaign at the moment but assume there are others.
While most of the Local government and Others sections read more like trivia lists it appears none of them would get excluded by Dems' proposal.
We'll need to redo the proposal as prose so that it can be the section lead. --Marc Kupper|talk 18:26, 18 November 2010 (UTC)

Social media & write-in candidates in US presidential election[edit]

I read through this article and discussion, and related articles, and found no definitive statement regarding whether write-in candidates are permitted in the US national presidential election (not party primaries). By "permitted" I mean would be counted the same way as other partisan candidates, could earn delegate votes, and could potentially become president of the US. Prior to this time in history, it would have been nearly impossible to access information on alternative candidates and narrow the field of these enough to garner enough votes for a particular write-in candidate to win. Because of the internet and social media, it may now be possible (unless SOPA and PIPA pass). I don't know enough about the intricacies of national and state election laws to know where to find this information, but suspect one or more of those involved with this page either has this information or knows where to find it. Could that person please clarify whether a write-in candidate for the US presidential election could win the presidency of the US? Thank you! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:30, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

Stubbs (cat)[edit]

Successful mayoral write-in candidate, elected as a kitten within months of birth. See the article. I'm not sure how best to include this into the article, since the two mentions I've seen on WP have few details on this candidate. More details could perhaps be found in sources cited on either article. Djr13 (talk) 00:06, 18 July 2012 (UTC)

While I certainly don't mind a little levity every now and then, a reality check is in order. The Alaska Constitution makes it clear that the only legally recognized municipalities in Alaska are cities and boroughs. Talkeetna is a census-designated place. As such, there is neither a position of mayor nor a mayoral election. This is obviously nothing more than a publicity stunt on the part of the chamber of commerce, just like the bachelor auction. The article gives lip service to these points. However, this appears to be another case of using selective sourcing to present a certain picture without much regard for factual accuracy. The parallel to the depiction of Levi Johnston's "mayoral campaign" seems a little too obvious.RadioKAOS (talk) 18:09, 19 July 2012 (UTC)
This is good information to clarify the situation. Would you mind please adding this clarifying information and sources to the article for Stubbs (cat) and/or Talkeetna, Alaska? Otherwise that article seems to possibly imply something that isn't actually true. As to whether or not with those qualities of the situation considered, Stubbs is notable enough for this article, I don't know. Djr13 (talk) 22:37, 20 July 2012 (UTC)

Write-in candidates and the Electoral College in the U.S.[edit]

In American presidential elections, what would happen if a write-in candidate won the state tally in a particular state? More specifically, who would be sent to the Electoral College? A write-in candidate would, necessarily, not have nominated pledged candidates for electors. SchnitteUK (talk) 17:09, 9 September 2013 (UTC)

I don't know how reliable it is and it's from 2008 but see the state links at It says many states require write-in candidates to submit names of electors in advance. I don't know what other states would do. PrimeHunter (talk) 22:42, 9 September 2013 (UTC)
Write-in candidates to submit names of electors in advance? This seems impossible to do. By definition, write-in candidates cannot have filed a formal candidacy - if they had, they wouldn't be write-in candidates but simply be listed on the ballot as ordinary candidates whom voters can vote for by ticking the respective box. The entire point of write-in candidates is to have the possibility to vote for somebody who has not expressed an interest in running for office in advance. SchnitteUK (talk) 07:44, 22 September 2013 (UTC)
No, write-in candidates is mainly for candidates who have declared their candidacy in advance but couldn't get on the ballot. See Ballot access#State ballot access laws. Some voters may choose to write the name of a non-candidate but I don't know whether a non-candidate has ever won a US election, and I don't know what would happen if they did, for example if they refuse the position or there are multiple people with the same name. PrimeHunter (talk) 10:21, 22 September 2013 (UTC)

Write-in Presidential candidate and Vice President[edit]

And what happens when a write-in candidate wins a US Presidential election--how is the Vice President chosen? --BWS9208250.81.109.8 (talk) 02:54, 23 July 2016 (UTC)

If the candidate has no electors tied to its name than it can't win that state's electors (presumably they would go to the candidate with the most votes that had electors tied to it), if a candidate has "write-in status" then they do have electors tied to them but they will always have a VP candidate alongside them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:4A:403:3F70:D888:B73E:F721:F41B (talk) 03:13, 3 August 2016 (UTC)

Harambe (gorilla)[edit]

I noticed this story about the impact he had on Australian elections earlier this year:

Been hearing rumors he got a bunch of write-in votes during this election but it might be too soon for there to have been any news coverage of it. Anyone know of any? Ranze (talk) 06:03, 9 November 2016 (UTC)

Chris P. Carrot[edit]

Where does one write about Chris P. Carrot, PETA's write-in candidate for US President? MaynardClark (talk) 21:44, 11 July 2017 (UTC)

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Requirements for notability[edit]

Obviously, if a person wins office with a write-in campaign, that is a notable campaign and should be listed in the article. Winning a primary is not sufficient for inclusion in the article. As demonstrated in the section about California, every election there are about a dozen candidates who win a primary and then do not win the general election.
For people who are notable, and at some point in their lives ran as a write in candidate, those write-in campaigns become notable due to the notability of the person. BarbadosKen (talk) 14:09, 12 August 2018 (UTC)

In California's Proposition 14, the top-2 from the primary election advance to the general election. For example, write-in candidate Ruth Musser-Lopez advanced with only 0.2% of the vote in California's 16th State Senate district#2014. In the general election she unsurprisingly lost to the candidate with 99.8% of the primary vote. That's not notable but if a candidate actually wins the primary, i.e. gets the most votes, then there is a good chance in the general election and I think we can list it even if the candidate loses, at least in elections for congress (and governor if that should happen). PrimeHunter (talk) 15:29, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
Wikipedia is not a crystal ball. Notability is not determined by a good chance in the general election. If the candidate wins in the general election and the candidate ran as a write in candidate in the primaries that's notable enough to be listed.
The article is even more flexible than that. If a notable person (most likely due to having held political office) has ever run previously as a write-in, that write in campaign is listed.
The point is that winning a write in campaign in a primary is not sufficient in and of itself to meet the threshold of notability. BarbadosKen (talk) 17:37, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
Why are we making up our own rules about notability? If the candidate is notable enough to have their own article and if they were a write-in candidate, they could be listed here. Otherwise, no. --Laser brain (talk) 16:32, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
There is no making up of rules. This is all about complying with Wikipedia's rules for notability. BarbadosKen (talk) 17:33, 12 August 2018 (UTC)