The Libertarian candidates for governor and lieutenant governor are willing to pay $8,500 to cover the cost of a recount aimed at ensuring their names appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. The two candidates ran a write-in campaign to win the Libertarian nomination. Under state law, they had to receive at least 230 votes in the primary election to advance to the general election, but they fell about 50 votes short. Now, the Libertarians are asking the State Canvassing Board to authorize a hand tally in at least eight counties and they’ve provided an $8,500 check to cover the cost. They will get the money back if the recount shows that they had enough votes to qualify for the Nov. 6 ballot.Full Article: Libertarians pay for recount in governor primary | Albuquerque Journal.
Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill’s office notified counties today that they must tabulate write-in votes in last Tuesday’s special election for the U.S. Senate. The notification is one step in the process of certifying Tuesday’s vote. State law requires counties to tabulate the write-in votes unless the number of write-ins is fewer than the deciding margin in the race.Full Article: Alabama counties told to tabulate write-in votes in Senate race | AL.com.
With national attention on Alabama’s Senate race between Democrat Doug Jones, and Republican Roy Moore, WAAY 31 wanted to know how write-in votes would be counted. “I will be voting for Roy Moore,” said Tuscumbia resident, Anethea Harper. Harper said she trusts Moore and, if she votes, then her ballot will go to him. The former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice is accsued of sexual misconduct by multiple women. “If he’s guilty then I think he will do the right thing and step aside,” said Harper.Full Article: Alabama write-in votes are only counted if they could impact election.
Florida: Seminole County elections supervisor: State law loophole robs thousands of voters | Orlando Sentinel
Kevin Gross is a longtime political candidate who has run for Seminole CountyCommission three times and most recently for Clerk of Courts. But his name has never appeared on a ballot. He has never mailed out campaign fliers or even set up a campaign website. Still, Gross’ low-profile campaigns as a write-in candidate have had a big influence on Seminole’s elections process by shutting out a majority of the county’s voters. Now, Seminole County Supervisor of Elections Michael Ertel is urging legislators to take another crack at closing a loophole in the state’s election law that allows a write-in candidate — such as Gross and others across Central Florida — to close off primaries to all voters. “This little loophole has kind of bastardized the [elections] process,” Ertel said. “This is about the voters having faith and trust in the process. And it’s our job to make sure that everyone understands the process is working fairly for everyone.”Full Article: Seminole elections supervisor: State law loophole robs thousands of voters - Orlando Sentinel.
Pennsylvania: The 197th District has an unofficial winner, and an official investigation | Philadelphia Inquirer
The contentious and controversial special election for the 197th District of the state House has an unofficial winner — Democrat Emilio Vazquez. It also has an official investigation by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office into allegations of voter fraud during Tuesday’s election. Staffers from the city’s Board of Elections spent Friday morning methodically combing through long reams of narrow paper tapes, calling out the votes for write-in candidates such as Vazquez. The count showed Vazquez winning with 73.5 percent of the vote. Green Party nominee Cheri Honkala, who like Vazquez was kept off the ballot by a Commonwealth Court judge’s ruling, finished second with 10.5 percent. Other write-in candidates took a combined 8.6 percent.Full Article: The 197th District has an unofficial winner, and an official investigation.
Voting in a special election to fill a vacant state House of Representatives seat ended Tuesday night with no clear winner: The only candidate on the ballot tallied less than 8 percent of the votes, with the rest going to write-in candidates. With all precincts counted in North Philadelphia’s largely Democratic 197th District, Republican Lucinda Little had 198 votes, the rest — 2,483 — going to a number of write-in candidates, including Democrat Emilio Vazquez and the Green Party’s Cheri Honkala. Deputy City Commissioner Tim Dowling said a winner won’t be declared until at least Friday.Full Article: Voters in 197th District special election go with write-in candidates.
A protest has been filed in Bladen County alleging that a handful of people may have improperly submitted hundreds of absentee ballots, while also getting paid for get-out-the-vote efforts by a community group funded by the N.C. Democratic Party. According to the protest filed by McCrae Dowless, who won election as soil and water district supervisor, the handwriting on a number of ballots and the signatures of some mail-in absentee witnesses were similar. He said the questioned ballots seem to have been cast in favor of a straight ticket of candidates and also to vote for a man named Franklin Graham, who ran a write-in campaign for soil and water district supervisor. A letter the Bladen County elections board wrote to the State Board of Elections, and attached to the complaint, raises the same concerns. While some ballots listed witnesses, few include the documentation that would be required if someone had also assisted the voters, according to the letter.Full Article: Falsified write-in votes alleged in Bladen County, North Carolina | News & Observer.
Imagine an election when you could vote for anyone you wanted. In parts of America, you can – simply by writing a name on the ballot paper. But if millions of disillusioned people voted for someone like Donald Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, could he actually become president? It’s a quirk of the American election system. Voters are allowed to “write in” candidates who aren’t officially running for the top job when they go to the polls. They simply write the name on the ballot. Mickey Mouse is a US favourite. Donald Duck often pops up in Scandinavia. God and Me are other perennial picks. Every year there are more serious protest votes. The name of a vice-presidential nominee, or an independent, for example. But it’s rare for senators or congressmen to shun their party’s presidential nominee and write in a totally different candidate. The 1932 New York mayoral race was perhaps the first election where Mickey Mouse appeared This year, at least three Republicans have said they will write in the name of Mr Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, after a 2005 video tape in which the Republican candidate made obscene remarks about women emerged.Full Article: US election: Where you can 'write in' a name on ballot - BBC News.
South Carolina: Planning to write-in a vote for president? Think again, South Carolina voters | The Herald
Maybe lawmakers generations ago saw the election of 2016 coming. Maybe they didn’t want to count cartoon characters or dead folks when sorting out candidates for the top job in the country. For whatever reason, they made sure South Carolina voters won’t be straying too far from the pack on election day. Title 7 – Elections, Chapter 13 in South Carolina reads like a phone book. About halfway down is one of the shorter voting rules, but one that could surprise a voter on Nov. 8. It states: “The ballots shall also contain a place for voters to write in the name of any other person for whom they wish to vote, except on ballots for the election of the president and vice President.” So all those next day reports of odd write-in votes nationwide won’t happen in South Carolina. “It varies by state law,” said Wanda Hemphill, registration and elections director for York County.Full Article: The law says South Carolina voters can't write-in votes for president | The Herald.
Disillusioned voters who don’t like any of the presidential candidates in the Nov. 8 general election may be tempted to write in another name. Doing so is not allowed by state law, said Secretary of State Shantel Krebs. “What it doesn’t do is it does not throw the entire ballot out,” she said at a Beadle County Republican Party campaign luncheon in Huron on Monday. “That’s the misconception right now,” she said. “Your ballot is still marked race by race. Any race not marked is not counted.” The intense interest in the presidential race between frontrunners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is prompting the national media to regularly call secretaries of state across the country. Krebs said she also gets as many as 1,500 e-mail inquiries a day in her office.Full Article: Plainsman Krebs: S.D. law prohibits write-in votes in election.
Virginia: Planning to cast a write-in for president? Don’t expect it to count in Virginia | Richmond Times-Dispatch
If you can’t bring yourself to vote for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in November, you can always write in your presidential candidate of choice. Just don’t expect it to count. Write-in votes for president aren’t counted in Virginia unless the candidate has declared the candidacy and filed a slate of electors with state elections officials. “There is a write-in space on the ballot, but unless the candidate has adhered to proper procedures” as set forth in Section 24.2-644 of the Code of Virginia, “those write-ins don’t count,” said Martin Mash, confidential policy adviser to the Virginia Department of Elections. Under section 24.2-644 (C) of the Code of Virginia, “Write-in votes for president and vice president shall be counted only for candidates who have filed a joint declaration of intent to be write-in candidates for the offices with the secretary of the State Board (of Elections) not less than ten days before the date of the presidential election.”Full Article: Planning to cast a write-in for president? Don't expect it to count in Va. - Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia Politics.
In a small Virginia town with a population of 200, there are few aspiring politicians. In fact, there are so few that Newsoms, Virginia, found itself with a unique problem on Election Day Tuesday: No one ran for office, and the ballot was blank.
Luzerne County’s approach to tallying write-in votes has come under fire, prompting a lengthy debate at last week’s county council meeting. West Hazleton Borough Councilman James Bucky Kulaga raised the issue along with several council members, questioning why the the county election board didn’t declare him a Democratic write-in winner in the borough council race after the May 17 primary. Kulaga, who won one of the four Republican nominations, said 10 Democratic write-in votes were required to receive that party’s nomination.Full Article: Luzerne County’s handling of write-ins comes under fire - Times Leader - timesleader.com.
US Virgin Islands: Hansen wants to take recount case to U.S. Supreme Court | Virgin Islands Daily News
Sen. Alicia Hansen plans to petition the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her vote recount case, after the V.I. Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling that ordered a stop to the recount. The V.I. Supreme Court issued the decision upholding Judge Harold Willocks’ Dec. 24 ruling granting a writ of mandamus in a case filed by Sen. Nereida Rivera-O’Reilly against the V.I. government and the St. Croix Board of Elections. Hansen intervened in that case. Rivera-O’Reilly, who was seventh among elected St. Croix senators, filed the case in V.I. Superior Court on Dec. 8 – four days after the board began the recount of Hansen’s write-in votes. Rivera-O’Reilly asked the court to stop the recount on the grounds that it was illegal. The territory’s high court on Thursday found that although the lower court’s decision granting the writ was correct, its reasoning was wrong.Full Article: Hansen wants to take recount case to U.S. Supreme Court - News - Virgin Islands Daily News.
Virginia: Election official questions Attorney General tally, Republican has hope in recount | Examiner
A law championed by Democrat Creigh Deeds could give Republican Mark Obenshain the tools to erase Mark Herring’s 165-vote margin in Virgina’s attorney general’s race, Watchdog.org reported. Deeds, who lost the AG contest to Bob McDonnell in 2005 by 360 votes, subsequently authored legislation requiring all optical scan ballots be re-run in the event of a recount, and that ballots containing write-in votes, undervotes or overvotes be hand-counted. In 2005, the ballots were only re-run in precincts that had identified problems. “This is new territory for Virginia and a margin well within the range in which recounts have changed the vote lead,” Obenshain spokesman Paul Logan said.Full Article: Virginia election official questions AG tally, Republican has hope in recount - Washington DC News | Examiner.com.
Crawford County Court of Common Pleas is being asked to order a special election in the race for a six-year term on the Wayne Township Board of Supervisors. Bruce M. Peterson, a Wayne resident who was the Democratic Party nominee for the supervisor’s post, is petitioning the court because his name was left off the township’s ballot in the Nov. 5 general election. Peterson won the Democratic Party nomination for the supervisor’s post in the May 21 primary while Lee Singleton, another Wayne resident, won the Republican Party nomination for the same position in May 21 primary. Both names were to appear on the township ballot for the Nov. 5 election, but only Singleton’s did, according to the petition filed with county court.Full Article: Name left off ballot, candidate seeks special election » Local News » Meadville Tribune.
Wayne County elections workers are expected to begin their eighth day recounting ballots from disputed Detroit elections this morning, and little information is being made available on how much longer the recount will take — or how much it is costing. County officials said Monday that about 80% of the ballots have been counted. Paperwork then has to be completed after the count. Delphine Oden, Wayne County’s director of elections, declined to say Monday when she expected the recount to end. The recount was approved by the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, which is looking into allegations of fraud detailed in a petition filed by former mayoral candidate Tom Barrow. Barrow’s allegations include, among other things, that the number of applications for absentee ballots was lower than the number of absentee votes cast, and that similar handwriting appears on several ballots cast for former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan, who will face Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon in November’s general election. Carol Larkin, chair of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, said the overall cost for the recount appears headed closer to $100,000 than the $500,000 price tag Barrow has suggested. “We won’t know the total until it’s done,” she said. “It is going to get costly, though.”Full Article: Elections workers slog through Detroit mayoral recount | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.
Michigan: Board of Canvassers to hire handwriting expert for review of Detroit primary recount | Detroit Free Press | freep.com
The Wayne County Board of Canvassers decided Saturday to hire a handwriting expert to review ballots from Detroit’s August primary election. The decision came as the board met at Cobo Center to consider more than 170 challenges filed so far in the latest recount of the primary. The top vote-getters in the mayor’s race, as certified by the state — former Detroit Medical Center CEO Mike Duggan and Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon — will face each other in the November general election. Despite the decision to hire a handwriting expert, several challengers criticized the 19 samples that would be reviewed as too small to be representative.Full Article: Board of Canvassers to hire handwriting expert for review of Detroit primary recount | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.
It may be hard to believe but the primary election in Detroit still is not settled. And today makes exactly one month since voters cast ballots for mayor, city council and city clerk. The Wayne County Board of Canvassers voted Thursday to recount ballots from Detroit’s August primary, based on a petition from former mayoral candidate Tom Barrow, who alleged fraud in the election process. It will be the fourth time ballots from Detroit’s mayoral race will be counted. Detroit elections workers counted the ballots initially, then workers from the Wayne County Elections Division verified the counts to try and certify the results. But the certification came from the Board of State Canvassers after the Wayne County board found issues they said called for state intervention.Full Article: Wayne County canvassers vote to recount Detroit mayoral ballots | Detroit Free Press | freep.com.
Michigan: State elections director: Re-tabulation prevented disenfranchisement of over 24,000 Detroit voters | MLive.com
The state Board of Canvassers voted Tuesday to certify election results from Detroit’s Aug. 6 primary election after staffers reviewed write-in ballots and calculated totals that differed vastly from Wayne County numbers. Michigan Bureau of Elections workers spent days re-tabulating write-in ballots from 385 of Detroit’s 614 precincts after Wayne County’s Board of Canvassers declined to certify results because of questions surrounding the way mayoral write-in votes were initially counted. In some precincts, poll workers did not use hash marks to count write-in votes, leading the County Clerk’s office to seek to disqualify thousands of votes and calling mayoral candidate Mike Duggan’s overwhelming write-in victory into question. The state unsealed ballot containers and reviewed votes from precincts where there were discrepancies between the county’s vote summary and statements of votes prepared by elections inspectors.Full Article: State elections director: Re-tabulation prevented disenfranchisement of over 24,000 Detroit voters | MLive.com.