The Alabama Moderate

Painting the Red State Purple.

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Posted by ALmod on December 2, 2006

I am writing the following LTE to the Birmingham News, Montgomery Advertiser, Huntsville Times, and Mobile Press-Register:

Dear Editor,

Upon review of the report certified by Nancy Worley’s office which includes write-in votes, I was not as concerned with what I saw as I was concerned with what I did not see. At least three votes were missing from the count. While some people voted for “Joe Blow” and others, my husband and I voted for two people who were running legitimate write-in campaigns. Loretta Nall received a vote from each of us, and I voted for Warren Grayson for U.S. House District 6. But when I scrolled down the list to see how many people in my county voted the same way I did, I was surprised to find that not a single vote was shown for either candidate for St. Clair County. Why is that? Did the dog eat our ballots?

I find it more likely that the poll workers at my polling place simply decided that my vote wasn’t worth counting, especially after reading various articles and letters where poll workers complain about counting them. One poll worker referred to write-in voting as “wasting” a person’s vote. I disagree. Those of us who write-in votes are exercising our right to vote against the candidates that are included on the ballot and to vote for the candidate of our choice. A large percentage of write-in votes against an unopposed candidate can effectively send the message that his constituents are not happy– something that leaving that space blank wouldn’t do. I hardly call the attempt to send such a message a “waste.”

Perhaps it is time to revisit Alabama’s ballot access laws so that we may include more candidates on the ballot. To discourage others from writing in “Mickey Mouse” and the like, we might also include an additional “none of the above” option, in case we don’t have a serious candidate to suggest. Regardless, the write-in should stay for those candidates who are still unable to obtain ballot access, but the additional choices on the ballot would result in fewer actual write-in votes and less strain on poll workers. To take away the write-in vote completely would be to restrict our right to vote for whomever we wish and would limit our democratic process.

This was crossposted at Between the Links.


5 Responses to “My LTE”

  1. Kathy said

    Excellent letter! Good for you for challenging the idea that write-in votes don’t count.

    Birmingham Blues

  2. Don said

    Jen, I agree with Kathy, but I also suggest that you make an official protest/enquiry to the Secretary of State’s office and possibly the AG as well.

  3. Arlen Crawford said

    Jen, For those of us who do not live in Alabama, please let us know of your progress. Thanks.

  4. Loretta Nall said

    This is a great letter Jen and points out the extreme importance of write-in voting. Thank you for having the sharp eye and catching the fact that St. Clair Co. did not count your votes.

    I have cross posted over at my place.

    I, too, think you should file an official inquiry with the SoS and the AG.

  5. Don said

    Jen, if you want any action from the SOS office I would suggest you contact Ed Packard. I believe this email address for him is still valid though I haven’t used it in a while:

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