Politics & Government

Unless you write in one of these 6 candidates for president, you’re wasting your protest vote

By Steve Bousquet

Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau

Voters line up at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office to cast their ballots early on Monday.
Voters line up at the Manatee County Supervisor of Elections office to cast their ballots early on Monday. Bradenton Herald

Disgusted with their choices for President, some Florida voters plan to protest by writing in another candidate (University of North Florida President John Delaney said he'll write in House Speaker Paul Ryan). Really? That's a wasted vote.

The only write-in votes for president that will count in Florida are for any of six qualified write-ins who filed candidacy papers: Andrew Basiago, Richard Duncan, Cherunda Fox, Zoltan Istvan Gyurko, Laurence Kotlikoff and Anthony Valdivia. Writing in anybody else, like Mickey Mouse, Bernie Sanders or Allen West -- is an exercise in futility. Your vote for president won't count. It's a meaningless protest.

Speaking of votes counting or not counting, several election supervisors (Deborah Clark in Pinellas, Brian Corley in Pasco and Susan Gill in Citrus) report getting phone calls from voters asking this question: If I skip the presidential race and leave it blank, will the rest of my ballot still count? The answer, of course, is yes. Any voter has the right to skip any race on the ballot.

Election officials are bracing for an unprecedented amount of top-of-the-ticket "drop-off" or "roll-off" in this Florida election in which voters skip the presidential race. That would mean a lot of extra work for county canvassing boards, who are required by law to count every undervote in every race and report it to the state.

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