Thursday, July 21, 2016

Writing In Bernie This Fall? What You Should Know

<What's that saying? One picture's worth a thousand words....>

Bernie Sanders's endorsement of You-Know-Who last week certainly turned some heads among those supporters who couldn't fathom his strategy (if you're charitable) or motivations (if you're not) . And, while I share some of those feelings, I don't plan to spend too much time twisting myself into a pretzel over it. After all....if you weren't voting for Clinton before, why would Bernie's endorsement sway you now?

Endorsements are just the political version of the shtick that kept Ed McMahon off the street for decades. This isn't to suggest that Bernie is little better than Johnny Carson's late second banana (who, if I recall correctly, endorsed over 30 products before leaving this earth in 2009). I'm just putting things in perspective. As far as I'm concerned, people who cash all in their chips based on a newspaper's endorsement -- or some thumbs up from a fellow politico -- probably aren't doing their own homework, anyway.

All jokes apart, last week's announcement has prompted many Sanders supporters to ask themselves: should I write in his name this November? As you'll see, that notion isn't as cut and dried as it looks, since it'll depend on your home state's laws. Then there's also that little matter of perception, since -- aside from U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond (1954), and Ohio Congressman Charlie Wilson (2006) -- the list of major write-in victories isn't a lengthy one. It's more like a damp squib. There's a reason why the mainstream media treats write-ins like the drunken uncle who dances with a lampshade on his head on New Year's Eve....but I digress.

<Will Hllary Clinton show herself as the second coming of FDR and LBJ, combined, if she wins? Hey, look....I think I saw 
a pig flying past my window....check it out!>

However, the challenges of raising money -- and your political profile -- aren't enough in themselves to deter everybody. As the link below indicates, nearly 100 people are taking the write-in plunge, from Buddy The Elf (who lists his home as North Pole, AK -- haw, haw, haw), to Darth Vader (Spokane, WA -- Mr. Lucas's lawyers should be calling any day now), to Soul Bunny (Williams Bay, WI: now there's a name I can get behind, possibly), and Tom Brady Sketch (where else.....but Foxborough, MA).

However, as our friends at indicate, your options depend on what we Americans refer to as "The Geographic Lottery" (It Ain't About What You Think, It's Where You Live, That Matters), so let's roll the tape, as they say, and run the highlights:

If You Live In: Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or South're SOL, as these states don't permit presidential write-in candidates of any stripe. California, that hotbed of progressive subversion, is the oddity on this list, because it allows write-ins for primaries....but not general elections. Since Bernie came up short there, you can't write him in this fall, either.

If You Live In: Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, or Washington.....under these states' "Sore Loser Laws," candidates who don't secure their party's nomination can't mount write-in campaigns for the office that they "lost" during the primary. Thus, since Bernie won Indiana, Oregon and Washington, you're free to write his name in there, but not the other states on this list....which went to Clinton.

If You Live In: Alabama, Iowa, New Hamphsire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Wisconsin....these states will accept Bernie as a write-in, even if he didn't run as one. Presumably, you're free to put his name on your ballot.

But now comes the kicker, the other shoe about to drop, the proverbial fly in the ointment, the spanner in the works, because....

If You Live Anywhere're still SOL, because.your write-in vote won't count if Bernie didn't declare himself along those lines by each state's deadline. (For example, Michigan requires write-ins to file declaration of intent forms by the second Friday before the election. The Democratic primary took place on March 8, so he'd have had to file that form by February 26.)

So, in those 25 states (see link below for the complete list), you're free to write Bernie in, but unless he declared himself by the deadline....your local clerk doesn't have to count the vote. 

So where do we go from here, exactly? There's plenty of time to debate that question, but if nothing can see why major candidates don't mount write-in bids (such as the loss of 44 electoral votes from the states that don't allow them). With scenarios like these, there's a reason why you'll often hear that old saying, "It's complicated"....because, in our nation's geographic lottery, it ain't about what you's where you live, that matters. --The Reckoner

Links To Go (Put Down Ozzy Osbourne,
You Couldn't Do Any Worse, Right?): Write-In Candidates (2016): 

The Huffington Post:


  1. I plan to vote for Jill Stein. Do not have enough time or energy to play Russian roulette game and vote for the "lesser of two evils." No way Jose!

  2. Fair comment, and a topic that I'll be addressing shortly (again), as well -- thanks for writing! --The Reckoner