Some Rules For Write-in Candidates Haven't Been Written Yet

Oct 21, 2016

Credit K. Latham /

Indiana voters have 15 options to choose from if they want to write in a candidate for President in this year's election. Many Republicans who are dissatisfied with Donald Trump have announced their intention to write in Mike Pence for president, but that write-in could end up being a vote for Trump anyway.

There are three candidates listed on the Indiana ballot for president: the tickets for the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties. Under that is a blank spot for a write-in candidate: but there are only fifteen names a voter can put on that line that will actually count as a vote.

Write in candidates in Indiana have to be certified by the Secretary of State’s office for those votes to count and the deadline to request approval was July 5th. So if Bernie Sanders is written in, for example, that vote just gets thrown out. But what happens if someone writes in Indiana Governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence for President? Pence is not a certified write-in candidate, so that creates two possibilities – either the vote gets thrown out or it gets counted for the Trump ticket.

The Indiana Election Division hasn’t decided how it will count the votes. In an email, election division co-directors Angie Nussmeyer and Brad King say the issue has not been discussed, but they plan to confer together and agree on an official position.

Of the 15 approved write-in names in Indiana, four are affiliated with a minor party, including Green Pary nominee Jill Stein. The other 11 are registered as independent.