Minnesota Write-In Votes Disappeared Along With Their Candidates
MINNESOTA - December 12, 2018
Most states require write-in candidates for higher offices to register before or after an election to have their votes counted, including Minnesota.
St. Louis County Clerk Phil Chapman said no write-in candidates filed to have their votes counted for county attorney, county sheriff, and county commission board seats or for the 8th District Congressional race.
Any write-in candidate for federal, state, judicial or county office in Minnesota must submit a simple form to the Minnesota Secretary of State at least a week before the general election. And no write-ins are allowed in the primary. Otherwise, the votes are simply counted as "write-in," with no clue as to what was written in.
A handful of write-in candidates did file for the two U.S. Senate races on the ballot this year, though only one gathered more than a handful of write-in votes: Stephen Emery, a candidate for Amy Klobuchar's Senate seat, had 51 votes, according to preliminary tallies from the Minnesota Secretary of State. There were a total of 934 write-in votes in that race and 1,103 in the race for Tina Smith's seat; most were not for the registered candidates.
Final results from the midterm election, write-in or not, will be settled and certified at the state canvassing board meeting on Tuesday.
For most city, township and school district elections, including in Duluth, write-ins are counted without any additional filing. There were a few such off-ballot victories around the state this year.
About 17% of Farmington voters wrote-in the name Joshua Hoyt — enough to give him a win in a crowded race for two city council seats, according to MPR News. There were seven declared candidates, and Hoyt received the second-highest vote share.
And in the northern town of Winton, 41 voters wrote Marlene Zorman's name for a seat on the city council there, according to the Ely Echo, which reported that President Donald Trump was among the other write-in options put forward in a race that drew no official candidates.
In every election there are reports of impossible candidates pulling in big vote totals — a result of voters' disaffection with their candidates -- or love for art.