Last week, the 8th Congressional District Black Leadership Caucus Political Action Committee announced its support for Dobbins Heights Mayor Antonio Blue as a write-in candidate on November’s ballot, where he will challenge the Democratic incumbent Congressman Larry Kissell.
But what makes a write-in candidate legitimate? Often we hear people joke about writing in “Bugs Bunny” or “Mickey Mouse” on a ballot.
According to Connie Kelly, Richmond County Board of Elections director, the candidate must submit a petition request form to the State Board of Elections. To represent the 8th Congressional District, the candidate must take the petition form to each county in the district to collect signatures. Signatures must be collected in each county and by Aug. 8, the candidate must have submitted at least 250 signatures to qualify for write-in status. The petition must be sent to the State Board of Elections, which verifies the signatures belong to registered voters.
Blue said it took him about five days to collect all the signatures he needed.
“I’m waiting on the State Board of Election to certify my signatures,” he said. “I got signatures from all the counties. It’s time consuming, but I’m looking forward to the process.”
According to Richmond County Board of Elections staff, Blue will be dealing directly with the State Board of Elections.
“If qualified, the candidate will have a write-in line provided on the General Election ballot,” said Kelly. “In order for votes to be counted, it must be a ‘qualified write-in’ candidate. Therefore, any name other than the name of the qualified write-in candidate is not reported — they do not count.”
Kelly did admit to having seen some strange write-ins over the years.
“The year Bucky Covington was on ‘American Idol,’ we received a few write-in votes for him,” said Kelly. “We see a lot of the same names of real persons that obviously are written in from a husband or wife, or an individual voter writes their own name.
“Always there are Disney characters, but they are not reported individually. They are grouped together as miscellaneous. In a non-partisan race, unless there are five or more cast for the same person, we don’t have to distinguish them. As far as the write-in for 8th Congressional District, only the qualified individual will have votes counted for them,” she said.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.