Write-in votes a serious matter -- to most
This just isn't Mickey Mouse's year.
Early voters now have their ballots and those pondering, in jest or in seriousness, what to do with the write-in line should know that there are strict rules for making that blank line work.
Yuma County elections officer Sue Reynolds said the most common write-in mistake people make is to vote twice for the same candidate — filling in the bubble next to the pre-printed name and then scrawling it in on the write-in line, as if earnestly emphasizing their pick.
“But neither one of those votes will count,” she said. “It cancels out their vote.”
Other than this over-voting scenario, there's using the write-in spot to promote any number of cartoon characters, celebrities, or one's self as the best candidate.
“Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck,” Reynolds said. “Some people put ‘anybody but him,' ‘anybody but her.'”
But unless Mickey or Donald is on the official write-in candidate list – and they're not — those votes go nowhere.
Write-ins are also not for the impulsively grassroots — only votes for those officially accepted as write-ins will be recorded. Head to www.yumacountyaz.gov/elections and click on “candidates” to download a list of official write-in options. (The Ayers/Cabrera Utopian Party presidential ticket featuring Alejandrina Cabrera, who was removed from contention for the San Luis, Ariz. city council for lack of English proficiency, is not on Yuma County's write-in list.)
A three-person write-in board gets every ballot with writing on it, even if it's obviously not a serious or viable entry. Those people will study each ballot and count those that have one of the official write-in candidates, but not keep record of anybody else — so, if you're wondering if you're contributing to a list where elections staff dutifully add “Homer Simpson” to the roster of runners-up for posterity, you're not.
To vote for a write-in, print the name in the space provided and fill in the accompanying bubble.
If you spoil your ballot in any way, hold onto it and bring it into the recorder's office to trade out for a new one. Once a ballot with an error on it has been submitted it cannot be pulled back for the voter to fix it, because the envelope with identifying details is immediately separated.
The county sent out about 38,000 early ballots for this election. As of Friday afternoon, 2,348 had been returned and verified, according to the recorder's office.
All ballots must be returned to the Yuma County Recorder's Office, 410 S. Maiden Lane in Yuma; polling place or other official drop-off spot by 7 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 6.
Hillary Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6857. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSHillaryDavis or on Twitter at @YSHillaryDavis.