The Election File Write-in Edition: No. Your vote for Mickey Mouse will not count.

September 2, 2010

The Illinois State Board of Elections' election calendar is filled with deadlines for candidates. There are dozens of deadlines. Dozens. Most of them refer to the candidate disclosure process (who gave a candidate cash, and how the candidate spent it), and the nomination and petition process (how a candidate gets his or her name on the ballot). Write-in candidates don't usually have to have to worry about most of those dates. But they do need to worry about the deadline that arrived today:
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2010 Last day a person may file a notarized Declaration of Intent to be a write-in candidate with the proper election authority or authorities (appropriate county clerk(s) and/or boards of election commissioners.) Write-ins shall be counted only for persons who have filed a Declaration of Intent. Write-in declarations are NOT filed with the State Board of Elections. (10 ILCS 5/17-16.1)
Bottom line: if a candidate doesn't fill out the necessary form and get it to the relevant local election authorities (there are 110 of them across the state), than they are not really a write-in candidate. So if you voted for your dad, your crazy neighbor, your dog, Kevin Kline, Martin Sheen, Mickey Mouse or Manny Ramirez, you have literally wasted your vote. It's not going to get counted. Your polling place should post a list of all the declared write-in options, or you can sneak a peak ahead of time at the websites of your local election authority. (UPDATE: Will County and Lake County, Illinois have posted their lists. So has the Cook County Clerk's Office, which handles elections in suburban parts of the county.) A candidate's write-in days are behind him Randy Stufflebeam is frustrated. Stufflebeam snagged more than 19,000 write-in votes during his 2006 campaign for Illinois governor. Not too shabby, but not enough for him to even consider doing it again. This time around, Stufflebeam is running for the U.S. Senate. He'd hoped to make the ballot on the slate of the Constitution Party, but the party got the boot. Instead of filing as a write-in, Stufflebeam is focusing his efforts on a lawsuit, challenging his removal from the ballot. I chatted with him earlier today. stufflebeam web Stufflebeam, in that clip, didn't sound interested in sharing who he might end up endorsing if he doesn't make the ballot. But I guessed anyway. Mike Labno, the Libertarian candidate? "I'm not inclined to say anything right at this moment"¦because there's still a chance that we might still get the ballot access." I can't really blame Stufflebeam for not answering. Unconventional politician or not, no one really wants to endorse an opponent until they know for sure that their own candidacy is doomed. "ËœI'm tired of the BS' Steve Estill is a retired state employee from central Illinois. He's running as a write-in candidate for governor because he says he's sick of money in politics. estill web Estill will be competing against Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, the Green Party's Rich Whitney, Libertarian Lex Green, Republican state Senator Bill Brady and independent Scott Lee Cohen - along with a handful of others who've launched write-in campaigns. RELATED: Underdogs or Not, Wrote-in Candidates Press On
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