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Why was I not allowed to vote my choice?
November 4, 2008 10:38 AM   Subscribe

I thought it was more a less a given right to write in a candidate. I have before. The sample ballot indicated that one could do so. After standing in line 2 hours I see that, nope, I have to vote for whoever is printed on the ticket. everything else, from senator to dog catcher had write-in options. The poll workers, a young and friendly lot, were clueless, God bless em. So, when voting in a presidential election, must one vote for the names printed on the ballot, or not participate at all? I realize a write in vote is a 'throwaway', that's not the question. I am not from SC, but had to vote there this year if that matters which it shouldn't.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (8 answers total)
 
Here is the relevant rule from the South Carolina Election Commission. It's a state thing.
posted by jessamyn at 10:44 AM on November 4, 2008


Since 1982 presidential write-ins have not been allowed in SC; there was a similar law passed across the river in GA about that time but it was repealed. The explanation given was that votes for Mickey Mouse and such were an affront to the democratic process. In one particularly egregious example a guy named "Strom" was actually elected to the senate in SC. (Although you can still write in senate candidates there.)
posted by TedW at 10:47 AM on November 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


A little more detail: New attempt would repeal South Carolina's presidential write-in ban, which has this brilliant bit:
Tom Huff, a former state legislator who is now an appeals court judge, is baffled at how the write-in ban made it into a bill he'd authored regarding broader ballot reforms.

"I really don't remember it," he says, noting he shouldn't comment further because the law, possibly added by someone else through the legislative process, theoretically could be challenged in the state courts.
posted by smackfu at 10:47 AM on November 4, 2008


According to this totally non-official website, this is true in at least six US States. South Carolinia, Louisiana, Hawai'i, Nevada, Oklahoma and South Dakota.
posted by jessamyn at 10:48 AM on November 4, 2008


[comment removed - no stumping please, thank you]
posted by jessamyn at 1:22 PM on November 4, 2008


Every state does it their own way. As I understand it, voting for the president isn't in itself a right at all. For a while people didn't vote directly for the president -- they voted for representatives in the electoral college who got to vote however they chose (and the EC was itself created because the early idea of having Congress elect/appoint the president violated the principle of independent branches of government).

I'm not 100% sure of this but I get the impression that a state could essentially flip a coin to determine who their electoral votes go to, if that's what they chose to do. This is why there's no standard US ballot, and each state has its own process and rules.
posted by toxotes at 2:04 PM on November 4, 2008


You don't have to vote for the people on the ticket. If you have a paper ballot with no write-in option, spoil it. Submit it blank, submit it with everything checked, submit it with obscenities scrawled on it, or submit it with a note saying "none of the above". If you do this, you participate in the election (ie, you showed up and cast a ballot) without voting for candidates you find distasteful.
posted by crazycanuck at 2:46 PM on November 4, 2008


If you have a paper ballot with no write-in option, spoil it. Submit it blank, submit it with everything checked, submit it with obscenities scrawled on it, or submit it with a note saying "none of the above".

Done frequently in countries with compulsory elections.
posted by Netzapper at 9:46 PM on November 4, 2008


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