A Write In Vote Is A Wasted Vote

There are a few things that we learned from Bill Clinton during his presidency that are irrefutable.  Most of them are not able to be discussed on a “family” blog.   But one that we will discuss today is that there is one, and only one, definition of “is”.   And if you choose to write in a candidate for Governor this year, your vote IS a wasted vote.

I bring this up because in catching up on some past comments, it appears there are quite a few people wanting to cast protest votes, most planning some sort of write in.

For those of us that remain without a candidate, there really are only three options on the ballot:  Deal, Barnes, and Monds.   While write in votes are allowed, they are not counted unless the person you write in is a qualified write in candidate.   As far as your local registrar or the Secretary of State is concerned, they don’t exist.   Write in candidates in Georgia must qualify in a set process well in advance of the election.   That period has closed, and there are two official write in candidates:  Neal Horsley (likes farm animals, doesn’t like Elton John) and David Byrne (???).

Thus, if your intention is to make a statement with a write in vote of anyone other than the two men above, it will be a silent one.  No one will ever hear it.

Furthermore, if you’re assuming it counts toward total votes for purposes of whether or not there will be a runoff, it does not.

So, let’s just say there was a groundswell of support of folks that wanted to write my name in.   Let’s just say….

And, to make numbers easy, let’s say Deal got 490,000 votes, Barnes 400,000, Monds 70,000, and 40,000 people understand that I would be the best person to run this state, can remember my name, and type it correctly.   

Under this scenario, Deal has 49% of the votes cast  (490K of 1MM).   But, he would have 51% of the votes counted (490k of 960K).   There would be no runoff.

Thus, let it be clear.   If you intend on voting a “protest” vote, and want your vote to count, you better vote for one of the three men on the ballot, or the two who are qualified as write ins, depending on what it is you’re protesting.

23 comments

  1. Ron Daniels says:

    I disagree with the title, but agree with the point.

    A write-in vote in Georgia for the Office of Governor is likely a wasted vote, but not always. Immediately my mind wanders to the Maddox-Calloway-Arnall situation, in which having lost the primary to Lester Maddox former Governor Arnall launched an aggressive write in campaign. He won enough to cause problems, but that pesky loyalty oath ensured Lester won as the legislature was left to decide the victor between Calloway and Maddox.

    And then there is the Herman Talmadge rise to the Governor’s mansion. A number of Gene’s supporters had wrote Herman’s name in – as a safety precaution – and when Eugene died, we got left with the three Governor’s controversy.

    But neither of those instances had a write-in candidate winning solely on a write-in campaign. I guess what I am getting at, is that most write-in campaigns fail – very few have some degree of success in Georgia. It is not not an impossibility, but it is improbable. And at this point, no one has the infrastructure or time to get a campaign going that could win.

    • drjay says:

      yes ron, in theory a write-in campaign could be a signifigant event, but in the specific case of this years guv race the field is set, even if everyone in ga wrote in vince dooley’s name in the guv race, legally it would be as if they skipped the race entirely. arnall was a “qualified write in candidate”, an important point, and actually ran a campaign…

        • drjay says:

          sure, you’re welcome, i enjoy the perspective and knowledge of ga political history that you bring to pp, it both jogs my memory and adds new knowledge for me to digest. but still in this year’s race, both the title and point are valid. and ga law has been changed in such a way that i don’t think a primary loser cannot proceed to wage a write in camapaign like the one in ’66 anymore…

          • Ron Daniels says:

            I don’t deal in absolutes, and the title is an absolute.

            It’s not nuanced enough to state “this year.” If it were, I’d agree. Had Ray Boyd begun a write in campaign in January, you might have a credible write-in candidate.

            Outside of that, it’s very improbable. John Monds has better odds.

  2. Steve says:

    I disagree. If you are one of the select 10-30% of Georgians who bother getting off their ass in a non-Presidential year, then in my view nothing you might choose in that voting booth is a “waste”.

    For example, in downticket races where a person is running unopposed, or where both the candidates suck… I routinely vote “None of the Above” by leaving that box blank. You can call that a wasted vote, and indeed the Secretary of State doesn’t even include NOTA’s in the official percentages. However, my reasoning is that if one of those lousy candidates gets an unusually small number of people to actually press the button… then that sign of weakness might entice other candidates into the race next time around. Sure, that’s a long shot… but it seems less of a “waste” to me than voting for the crappy candidate.

    For an even better example, look at the list of “non-waste” options that Charlie gives you in the above post. Deal, Barnes… and Monds. Take that in for a moment. When I first became politically aware, Libertarians in Georgia were an absolute laughingstock. That has changed over the past couple of decades. Yeah, they still draw their jokes… but Republicans handle them with much more respect than they used to, and they’ve co-opted a lot of Libertarian rhetoric and principles (even if they don’t actually live up to them).

    What changed? A few high-profile runoffs, and a bunch of tight races that were a couple percentage points from going the other way. So if your personal goal was to at least nudge the candidates closer to your direction, then can you really say that any of those Libertarian votes were “wasted”? If that was your goal, then NOT casting those votes would have been the waste.

    Given that this is Peach Pundit, I assume that this post is in response to chatter about Karen Handel write-ins. If so, then fair enough. If your goal is to cast a “protest vote”… then it really does make more sense to cast it for Monds, because at least that percentage will be reported. However, I still wouldn’t label a write-in as an absolute “waste”.

    • Doug Deal says:

      Monds is clearly the protest vote of choice.

      It is very unlikely, but if Monds gets 20%, Libertarians get ballot access on every race, not just statewide. It’s about time we had some competition in leg races.

  3. Max Power says:

    This post should be about Georgia’s draconian ballot access laws that almost always leave us with poor choices.

  4. John Konop says:

    This is not a simple issue. I remember voting for Ross Perot knowing he would not win. And in almost every election I can remember I have not casted a vote on an issue or candidates I did not feel comfortable supporting either side and left it blank.

    Should we vote for someone we do not feel comfortable enough supporting even though we may like them a little better?

    • polisavvy says:

      I guess we should just vote our conscience. If we feel good about a candidate best representing what we want, then vote for him/her. If we don’t feel good about a candidate, then skip it. I don’t think people should vote just for the sake of voting. I think there should be conviction to a voter’s decision.

      • B Balz says:

        I never leave any position blank. I get my little cheat sheet and go in there and vote. If I don’t like the candidate, I vote for their opponent.

        To me, this is actually one election where I DON’T feel like is is the lesser of two boll weevils.

  5. Three Jack says:

    speaking of waste, the rnc is threatening to sue king roy for his campaign’s use of ‘gop’ and the elephant logo. from the letter sent by rnc counsel to the barnes campaign, “The Barnes campaign’s use of the RNC’s Official Elephant Logo and “GOP” trademark thus appear to be clearly designed to mislead the public into thinking that Mr. Barnes is someone he is not…”

    i would argue the gop nominee has done far more to “mislead the public into thinking that mr. deal is someone he is not.” maybe the rnc should re-direct it’s misguided threat to the one who is really tarnishing their logo.

  6. Lady Thinker says:

    Your post makes sense Charlie. I still am thinking long and hard about the vote for governor and lieutenant governor. At this time, I just haven’t decided.

    I am a Cancer by birthsign and a Tiger by the Chinese astrology and I fit both descriptions to a tee. I don’t like fishing but maybe it is time for a canoe or kayak trip with my two trusty dogs and my Beretta 92F, for the bad guys of course, in case they interrupt my thinking.

    • A break is always nice. I’ve been working on the new farm the last few days with just an rv, 40 gallons of water, propane and a couple of deep cycle batteries. And the Glock of course. My only connection to the internet has been my droid, and I tried not to even check email too much. I’ll be very glad to see this election over with, though I’m not sure how happy I’ll be with the results. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

      • Lady Thinker says:

        I agree that I will be glad when the election is over so the we can get the 2014 governor elected to clean up the mess that will be done by this upcoming administration.

        Will this be an organic farm?

        • LT – yep, whenever we get around to planting, it will be organic. We’ve got free range chickens at the moment, though we’re probably going to have to build a pen to protect them from predators at some point. We’ll still be focusing on the horses as the primary piece of the business, but the crops are a nice complement to it.

  7. GOPwits says:

    Lady Thinker it says a lot when the real fiscal conservative in the race is Roy Barnes. I think that if you want to put Georgia back on the right track moving forward, the choice is clear as to what we all have to do, as much as it is against our deepest partisan leanings. Deal would be a disaster and his accomplice wouldn’t be much better.

  8. hannah says:

    What Bill Clinton actually did was call attention to the fact that the meaning of ‘is’ varies according to whether a person exists entirely in the present, giving no thought to past or future and, thus, being unaware of change, or a person is focused on being something (Presidential) or doing (unifying or redirecting the nation). Conservatives, in keeping with their fixation on permanence and tradition, tend to be more interested in being important than in doing anything worth while. They’re quite content to be leaders that aren’t going anywhere. Which accounts for much of the obstruction we’ve recently witnessed.

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