A Good Reason to Vote For A Write In Candidate...

... because it really annoys public officials when you don't vote for the candidates they have approved.

Every write-in entry must be verified with the list of legitimate write-in candidates for that election, by a three-member review team. In the August primary election, Maricopa County elections officials saw the biggest ratio of fake-to-legitimate write-in candidates in recent memory: Among 90,433 entries in write-in slots, 1,738 were votes for legitimate write-in candidates.

Each fake entry cost Arizona counties money and manpower and slowed down the tabulation process, said Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, who oversees elections.

“They think they’re making some kind of a statement or being cute,” Purcell said.

The rise of write-in candidates - over 90,000 in one small-turnout primary election, strikes me as a very interesting untold story about the election and a metric of voter frustration with the whole process.

So don't be afraid to go off the board -- it is your right, no matter how much it irritates petty bureaucrats.  Mal Reynolds for President!


  1. ErikTheRed:

    Voting as a form of agorism. That is some deep irony. :-)

  2. Wilhelm Arcturus:

    I am still kind of stuck at the idea that there is an "approved" list of write-in candidates and that anything else is a discard. I get that expletives and fictional people are discards, but from the article it sounds like there is essentially a second tier ballot process where only approved individuals can garner write-in votes.

    That alone makes me want to write-in expletives.

  3. CriDeCoeur:

    "None of the above" on every ballot!

  4. FormerCreative:

    I don't care, I'm still free; You can't take the sky from me…

  5. fredrick.:

    Votes are only counted for write in's if the write in candidate applies to have the write in votes counted.

    It would be almost impossible to do otherwise.. How do you apply a write-in vote to John Smith?

  6. Keith Jackson:

    Participating in a public auction of the rights of your neighbors is unethical. Even making a protest vote or defensive vote means you agree to the terms of the winner-take-all popularity contest: if the most rotten socialist oppressive thug gets 50% of the votes, he gets to make the rules.

    Sorry, I don't consent to that.

    And, yes, I know I'm shouting at a hurricane.

  7. fredrick.:

    So what would you do instead? Parliamentary system?

  8. Thane_Eichenauer:

    If it is too hard perhaps those officials should lobby the legislature to ease ballot access hurdles.

  9. Keith Jackson:

    In a perfect world, everyone would respect the rights of their neighbors and there would be no need for government. Slightly less perfect, I would prefer a laissez faire minarchy. I don't expect either, so all I can do is point out the problems with the viable alternatives.

    No matter how you restructure it, democracy is not freedom. Democracy produced the Nazi party (1932,1933), Hamas (2007-), Hugo Chavez (1998-), Muslim Brotherhood (2012-), et al.. I believe most of those are/were parliamentary in nature. While a democratically elected government is usually less oppressive than the alternatives, being less awful is only good in a relative way. Picking the lesser of two evils still produces evil results.

    As much as political parties purport to oppose one another, in most cases, the Pepsi vs. Coke wars are a distraction from the behind-the-scenes cooperation to maintain the power of the ruling elite. In the US, it's not Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal. It is actually those with political power vs. the "little people" who, at most, have the illusion of choice afforded by a meaningless vote. They still go to their elite dining rooms, Congressional gyms, Washington cocktail parties, and the like, rubbing elbows, rather than throwing punches. Populist movements like the tea party or occupy groups may start with noble ideas, intending to wrest power away from the corrupt, but the Ron Pauls and Rick Santellis are soon supplanted by the Sarah Palins and Glenn Becks, opportunists who are less for genuine reduction in government power, more for shifting power from Pepsi to Coke or vice versa.

    One of the problems of democracy is the winner-take-all nature. The winners get to pass laws, regulations, executive orders, and the like as well as appoint judges and officials who decide when the rules are constitutional and how they apply. In the US, you get the ever-expansive commerce clause and Scalia's "new police professionalism" and the war on X as a pretext for eroding the Fourth, due process, etc.. Just as with government spending, these attacks on basic individual rights tend to be done gradually, and in a ratchet-like manner. Just as some banks and corporations are "too big to fail", government departments and programs become too big to repeal.

    In the private sector, when people want to solve a problem, resolve a conflict, they can sit down and negotiate. Only those parties who have a stake in the matter are allowed a say and a compromise agreement generally gives every party something they want while limiting things they don't want. No guns. No diktats. Simply the use of reason to persuade. Contrast that to the democratic process, in which the winners get all of the spoils and people who have no stake whatsoever in a matter get the same vote that people with a vested interest get. People in the suburbs get to impose forced busing on city dwellers, while their children are unaffected. People who stand to pay no or minimal additional taxes get to burden businesses or other groups with the bill for new sports stadiums or useless rail projects. Those outside of a proposed area of construction get to vote to condemn the homes of a handful in the minority to build new roads or similar projects. And, that isn't even touching on how politicians get to exempt/insulate themselves from the things which burden the "little people".

    The Democrats and Republicans love to pontificate about the way in which their opponents do such things wrongly, but they have a built-in incentive to not "fix" such egregious misuse of power, and to continue to prop up the adversarial grandstanding. They get truckloads of money from special interests trying to defend their side in each of these battles (immigration, abortion, welfare, entitlements, tax rates). To resolve any of these matters with any sort of finality would put an end to that cash flow. So, such problems are never "solved" and the special interests continue to pay ransoms to help reelect these swindlers.

  10. obloodyhell:

    }}}} They think they’re making some kind of a statement

    "Think"? No, they ARE making a statement you nitwit:

    "None of the above".

  11. obloodyhell:

    }}}} Participating in a public auction of the rights of your neighbors is unethical.

    You know, an argument about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin is about as rational as this damnfool diatribe.

    This is the REAL WORLD, where government, while an evil, is STILL a necessary evil.

    Voting is a part of the effort to LIMIT that evil, when done properly. Failing to limit the evil because you cannot eliminate the evil completely is only a recipe for increasing the evil in the world -- the perfect becomes the enemy of the good -- a contest where evil wins hands down.

    Save us from sanctimonious twits who want to take both their balls home because they can't play the game THEY want to play, but instead are stuck playing the ones they have no idea about the state of.

  12. Rob:

    The county misspelled the name of my pick for candidate. Grey Johnson? and they are complaining about write in votes.

  13. fredrick.:

    unfortunately I have to agree with obloodyhell. Yes there are problems with different systems, but we need something. We don't have an ideal world where everyone respects everyone else. I can agree with you that Democrats and GOP are not perfect by any means - but if you don't like the system you need something else.

    I suggested Parliamentary to you, because it lowers the threshold You don't need 50%+1 (most of the time) votes to get someone with your ideals into office, you can get someone in with as little as 2.5%

  14. Keith Jackson:

    When you say, "if you don't like the system you need something else," I have to ask why?. An appeal to consequences argument is a fallacy. If we don't do this, bad things will happen. Except, aren't the rulers, right now, currently, making the system which was in place 10, 20, 30 years ago progressively worse anyway? How is having some system, any system, a bulwark against things getting worse?

    A system to rule others is bad, not because the particular people haven't been chosen to run it, not because the particular rules need to be tweaked this way or that, but because it is fundamentally based upon the use of force over reason, i.e. to *rule* others. I need not have a new-and-improved blueprint to say that such a moral failing--using force over reason--is a bad thing. I don't know what would work for you or someone in Boston or Phoenix or in a rural area in flyover country. Each competent individual is the best source to answer the question: what works best for you?
    By analogy, the free market isn't a system for the government to control economic activity. It's the lack of such controls. A communist might declare that, without Marxist 5 year plans, someone proposing an alternative must present their own plans. Except the ethical solution, which also tends to avoid the problems which come with market manipulation and distortion, is to let each individual make his or her own economic decisions, not to have central planners or to impose some arbitrary framework.

  15. Keith Jackson:

    I am not arguing about angels. I'm making reference to politicians, bureaucrats, and officials, today, on a massive scale, doing tangible harm to innocent people, every hour, every day. You want examples of law enforcement abuse, go read theagitator, copblock, or Carlos Miller's photography is not a crime. Coyote Blog also has a sampling of these sorts of outrages, in addition to stories about boondoggles, red tape nightmares, etc.. The actual harm to real-life people should not be dismissed as meaningless discussion of imaginary things.

    They are real. We see them every day.

    Get frustrated and cuss me out all you like, attempt to throw pragmatism at my principles, but I will not be a party to giving a permission slip to a politician who will maintain the status quo.

    You want to tell me how voting has increased our privacy, cut back on government spending and regulations, ended drug prohibition outrages (civil forfeiture, deadly wrong-door no-knock raids, black market incentives for addicts to commit crime), fiscal sanity? If you want to toss out principles and be pragmatic, then the first rule of pragmatism is looking at the actions, looking at the results, and then choosing what produces results. So far, democracy isn't working.

    Get this: You will *NEVER* *EVER* vote your way out of this mess.

    It isn't matter of not "playing the game I want to play." It's me recognizing that I have no moral right to force you to play any game. You own your own life. You get to decide whether you play games or do your own thing.

    Voting isn't a part of that. It's a distraction, a sideshow to convince the rubes that our rulers are really carrying out our will. Go to the carnival, if you like, I've got better things to do with my time.

  16. Thane_Eichenauer:

    Small FYI here. Though in Arizona the presidential electors are listed with Last name comma First Name format the ballot only includes the last name of the Presidential candidate: Johnson and the last name of the VP candidate: Gray. Their full long form names are Governor Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray.