What are the rules for write-in voting?

Voters do not necessarily have to correctly write a candidate's first and last name
Posted at 11:54 AM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 16:18:45-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Mayor Byron Brown encouraged voters Monday to “write down Byron Brown” at the polls in November.

7 Eyewitness News examined local election law to see what rules there are for write-in voting.

A write-in ballot is a vote that is written in, and cast for a person who does not appear anywhere on the ballot.

People voting for a write-in candidate must fill in the oval next to the words “Write-In” and write the candidate’s name on the line.

According to New York State election law, a voter does not necessarily have to correctly write a candidate's first and last name.

“The standard is whether the election inspectors can reasonably determine the intent of the voter,” according to the Board of Elections.

Any mark or writing outside the spaces provided for voting may void the entire ballot.

“I think you can anticipate that there will be a lot of challenges when they’re going through the ballots,” said Shawn Donahue, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University at Buffalo.

“It’s going to be a while before we know, possibly, who the winner is in November.”

Only a person running as a write-in candidate for President needs to certify with the State Board of Elections ahead of an election. Candidates for local office do not have to submit any filing paperwork.

On election night, write-in results are shown in the total count but not individually. Individual names for write-in candidates are only published in the official results.