Due to a large number of requests for guidance on the exact procedures that someone would need to follow to cast a write-in vote in the December 12 Senate Special Election, Secretary of State John H. Merrill has directed his team to develop and distribute the following directions for voters that have questions about that process.
The write-in process is simple but voters do need to be aware of how to cast their vote effectively and efficiently. The below was distributed to all Probate Judges and other local election officials and will be available for interested voters at their polling site on Election Day.
Casting a Write-In Vote FAQ
The candidate I would like to vote for is not listed on the ballot. How do I vote for him or her?
You may vote for a candidate not listed on the ballot by writing his or her name in the “write-in” box on your ballot. Each contest on the ballot has a “write-in” box. You must also color in the bubble in the “write-in” box for your write-in vote to count.
No. Your straight-party selection will cast votes for the political party’s candidates in all contests except the contest where you cast the write-in vote. In the contest where you cast the write-in vote, the write-in vote will override the straight-party ticket for that candidate area.
When you write in a name, the spelling must be close enough so that the name you write in is identifiable with the person you are voting for. When you write the name in, it must be done in a way that the election officials can determine exactly who you are voting for.
Initials and last name rather than a full name may be used. However, only a last name would be insufficient. The bottom line is that a write-in vote must be marked in a way that the election officials can determine exactly who you are voting for.
No. Write-in votes will be counted only for live, human beings who are eligible to serve in the office for which they have been voted. Votes cannot be counted for fictional characters.
No, the write-in vote must be cast in handwriting.
Yes, Alabama’s “sore loser” law does not apply to voters writing in a candidate. Any write-in votes for that candidate will be counted.
Under a law passed in 2016 by the Alabama Legislature, write-in votes will be recorded and documented but not necessarily counted on election day.
Write-in votes for a particular contest, such as U.S. Senate, are not counted unless the total number of write-in votes is greater than the difference in the number of votes received by the candidate who is in first place and the number of votes received by the candidate in second place.