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The Village News, Bellport's Paperless NewspaperFrom The Editor   

Write-In Voting In The Upcoming Village Elections

From The Editor

Editor's Note: This editorial was written before Paul Neumann declared his candidacy. The information in the editorial still applies.

June 7, 2014

I’m disappointed that only two candidates are running for the two open positions in the upcoming Village elections. I think it’s always better if the voters are given as many candidates as possible from which to choose. That way, the voters make the decision as to who wins and who loses. If only two candidates run for only two positions, those two candidates automatically win and the voters don’t really have a say in the process, unless the voters exercise their right to vote for a Write-In Candidate.

There are good reasons and bad reasons to exercise your right to vote for a Write-In Candidate. Several years ago, also when there were only two candidates running for two open positions in the Village Elections, a group, knowing that voter turnout would be suppressed as a result of having only two candidates for the two open positions, decided to run a “Stealth” campaign. They didn’t let anyone know their candidate(s) were running. They hoped that voter turnout would be very low and if their group voted as a block at the very last minute, using Write-In ballots, they could win the election before anyone knew what was happening. Ultimately, their plan fell apart, but their plan was the worst possible use of the right to vote for a Write-In Candidate.

We don’t have that situation this year. Although we only have two declared candidates running for the two open positions, I’m not aware of any “Stealth” campaigns going on. That’s great, but chances are voter turnout will still be suppressed as a result of the situation. This brings up to the best possible reason for you to use a Write-In ballot. If you don’t like the choices you’re being given, vote for whoever you want using a Write-In ballot. Hey, if enough people agree with you, maybe your Write-In Candidate will win!

So, how do you vote for the Write-In Candidate of your choice? It’s easy!

1. You can vote for anyone you want. They don’t have to officially declare that they are running and you don’t need their permission. If you don’t tell them, they’ll never know you voted for them. Write-In ballots are just as much a secret as regular voting methods are.

However, in order to avoid the appearance of a candidate or group trying to run a Stealth campaign, I would hope that a candidate would always declare their candidacy by letting and the local newspapers know that they are running as a Write-In Candidate for office so that we can let everyone know that they are running.

2. When you sign in to vote, you’ll be handed the same paper ballot as you would normally be given and as you’d expect, the names of the two declared candidates will be already printed on the paper ballot with a little blank circle printed next to each name. As usual, if you’d like to vote for either of these two candidates, simply blacken in the circle next to their name(s). However, if you’d like to instead vote for Write-In candidate(s), leave one or both of these first two circles empty and proceed further down the ballot.

3. Under the names of the two declared candidates, in the lower left corner of the ballot, you’ll find the words “Write In.” To the right of the words “Write In,” you’ll find two blank boxes. If you’d like to vote for one Write-In candidate, just write their name into one of the two blank boxes. If you’d like to vote for two Write-In candidates, just write each of their names into each of the two blank boxes. Remember! If you’d like to vote for one Write-In Candidate, you can still vote for one of the two candidates who have their names pre-printed on the ballot. If you want to vote for two Write-In Candidates, you must not blacken either of the little circles next to the candidates’ names that are pre-printed on the ballot.

4. When you’re done, take your filled out ballot to the Election Inspector and insert your ballot into the Voting Machine as you normally would. If there are any problems, the Election Inspector will tell you, but there’s no reason for the Election Inspector to look at or read your ballot. I always use the provided Security Sleeve to make sure my secret ballot remains secret.

5. One last point. Don’t use a Write-In to vote for a candidate who has officially declared that they are running and whose name already appears pre-printed on the ballot. If you do, your Write-In vote will be disqualified and won’t be counted even though you didn’t blacken the circle next to their pre-printed name on the ballot.

At the end of the evening when the polls are closed, all of the ballots will be counted, including the Write-In ballots. If enough voters agreed with you that your Write-In Candidate(s) were a better choice than one or both of the officially declared candidates, hopefully everyone wins.



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Larry Sribnick

Larry Sribnick



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