POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Know what counts when writing in a candidate name

Aug 31, 2022, 4:57 PM | Updated: 5:15 pm
Write in canidate voting...
A voter fills in the ballot on the voting machine during the Election Day voting at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Photo credit: Yukai Peng, Deseret News.

SALT LAKE CITY — If you plan to vote for any write-in candidates in Utah’s November election you might have questions about how to make sure your vote counts.

If you spell their name wrong, does your vote still count? The short answer is yes.

As a basic rule of thumb, County clerks recommend writing out the full name of a candidate. But, so long as they can tell your intent it would count. Utah is a voter-intent state.

“If we’re able to tell what the voter was choosing, then we’re able to count it,” said Davis County’s Chief Deputy Clerk, Brian McKenzie.

Take, for example, write-in candidates Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

If you wrote, “M. Mouse” election workers would not be able to tell your intent. But, if you wrote “Mickey M.” then they could.

However, McKenzie emphasized it’s best practice to, “clearly write the name of the candidate that they wish to have their vote counted for.”

Layton Representative Steve Handy announced Tuesday he’s launched a write-in campaign for his seat back in House District 16. Trevor Lee is the Republican candidate nominated over Handy by party delegates back in March.

Brent Zimmerman is a libertarian running, and there’s no Democrat. Lee and Zimmerman will have their names printed on the ballot.

McKenzie said in that particular race Handy is the only write-in who’s filed thus far, the deadline is Monday.

“So that’s going to make it a lot easier for us to tell the voters’ intent,” he said.

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Know what counts when writing in a candidate name