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Voters urged to follow instructions when casting a write-in vote

| Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, 4:51 p.m.

Write-in candidates are always welcomed during primary and general elections.

Voters who cast a write-in vote should follow some simple rules.

“Writing legibly so we can read it is very, very important,” said Fayette County Election Bureau Director Larry Blosser. “If we can't read it, we have no idea who they want to vote for. Print legibly.”

Blosser said voters must mark a box by the write-in option on the ballot when writing in a candidate's name.

Following the primary election, several races were challenged and candidates questioned write-in votes that were not marked by the box on the ballot.

Blosser said if the box is not checked, the vote is not recognized.

“They can mark it or put a check in the box but we prefer if they fill in the box completely,” he said.

Blosser said ballots contain instructions on how to write in a candidate. Voters should read the instructions carefully, he said.

“Names are important and must be written and spelled correctly,” Blosser said. “I will accept derivatives of first names but no initials and the names that are written in should appear how that candidate is registered or how they are running.”

For those who are launching write-in campaigns, Blosser suggests handing out slips or papers with names written correctly. Write-in candidates should refrain from passing out stickers with their names.

“They can't put a sticker on the paper ballot,” Blosser said. “They make the paper ballot too thick and they won't work.”

In the general election, the rules change for a write-in candidate.

They are not required to have a certain number of write-in votes. Whoever receives the most votes, wins the office.

If there is only one candidate running for the office, the candidate only needs one vote to win.

In the primary election, in order to have a name placed on the ballot in the general election, a write-in candidate must receive the amount of votes that would have been required if he or she had filed a petition for that office.

If a position requires 10 names on a petition to file, then a write-in candidate for that office needs the same amount of accepted write-in votes. If a position required 100 accepted names on a petition, a write-in candidate would need 100 accepted write-in votes.

“People can literally win with one vote,” Blosser said. “If they get that vote, then accept, then they will win.”

On the regular ballots, Blosser warns against trying to vote twice for a candidate that is cross-listed.

“We may have some problems with that in the upcoming election,” Blosser said. There are several candidates for different positions all over the county that cross-filed and won both parties' primaries. Their names will appear under both Republican and Democrat ballots for the respective offices.

The general election allows all voters to cast their votes for which candidate that they choose, regardless of party.

“People will try to vote for a candidate who is under both parties for each party,” Blosser said. “They will vote for them for both Republican and Democrat but that will not be counted.”

Blosser said election site workers are instructed to explain to voters they cannot vote for the candidate two times. If the voter wants the site worker to accept the ballot as filed, then it will not count.

“They will explain that you can't vote twice and offer to give them another ballot,” Blosser said.

The general election will be held Nov. 5.

Polling sites will open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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