Official Write-In Candidate 101

Maybe you refuse to vote for a Republican and the Democratic Party’s nominee is pro-predator, or treats employees like indentured servants, or is pro-corporate welfare, or whatever reason.

Maybe you want another option besides voting for the only candidate on the ballot.

Maybe you’d like to make a protest vote other than being a drop vote in a race, leaving it blank.

The good news is that you have a Write-In Candidate option in Missouri during November and April General Elections.

Minnesota Lizard People ballot

Sure. You could write in your name, or Jorts the Cat, or Lizard People. But your vote would not count.

Becoming an Official Write-In Candidate in Missouri is, however, easy and cheap. You are nearly guaranteed defeat at the polls, but earn the privilege of adding “Former Official Write In Candidate for _____” to your social media accounts and email signature line. Win Win.*

Running as a Write-In Candidate is different from running as an Independent in that your name will not be on the ballot and you do not have to pay a fee, collect petition signatures, form a campaign committee, etc. If you want your name on a ballot you will need to do all the things necessary to run as a political party candidate, nonpartisan candidate, or independent candidate.

In Missouri, there is a simple process for declaring your Write-In candidacy so that any votes you get are actually counted. A reporter may even ask the Secretary of State or your local election authority for info on Official Write-In Candidates.

Step 1. Check to see if you meet the age and residency related qualifications for the office you want to be a Write-In Candidate.

Step 2. File a Write-In Candidate Declaration of Intent in person by 5 pm October 28th. For other elections, the deadline is second Friday before the election. Sample Declaration for Local and State Write-In Candidates. Sample Declaration for Federal Write-In Candidates.

For municipal and county offices, you will file the Declaration of Intent in person with your county election authority. In St. Louis City that is the Board of Election Commissioners at 300 N Tucker. For State and Federal offices, you will file with the Secretary of State at Kirkpatrick Building, Elections Division, 600 West Main, Jefferson City.

Bring with you

Step 3. Tell your family, friends, neighbors, social media followers that you are an Official Write-In Candidate. Let Media know about your campaign. Or do nothing.

Step 4. Remember to Vote for yourself on Election Day.

* Sorry, St. Louis City Civil Service employees, City Charter makes you second class citizens with few political rights, so you don’t have the option of running as a Write-In Candidate (or any other kind of candidate). Most State employees in Missouri are now At Will employees who would probably get fired for running for public office even as a Write-In Candidate.