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AK-Senate: For Lisa Murkowski, No Stickers

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's potential write-in campaign in Alaska highlights states' diverse rules for counting write-in votes. Some states even let write-in candidates distribute stickers with their names for voters to use on the ballot.

With U.S. Sen Lisa Murkowski mulling a write-in campaign in Alaska (in what's turning out to be a delightfully weird election) I learned something about various state rules on counting write-in votes. From the Anchorage Daily News:

A statewide write-in campaign would be a massive challenge, although voters would not necessarily have to spell Murkowski's name correctly to add her to their ballots. "If I am able to determine the voter's intent, then the ballot would be counted accordingly," Alaska Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai said. But unlike some other states, Alaska doesn't allow voters to use stickers on the ballot with the candidate's name. That means the Murkowski campaign couldn't do a mass distribution of stickers for potential supporters to use on election day.
That piqued my interest and led me to discover this article from August in the San Diego Union-Tribune:

A Superior Court judge will decide whether San Diego school board trustee Katherine Nakamura can seek re-election as a write-in candidate in the November election. But if the two-term incumbent gets her way, voters won’t have to write in her name at all. Nakamura will argue in court on Thursday that she should be allowed to continue her re-election campaign despite a city election code that bans write-in candidates from the fall election. She will also ask the court to allow voters to place pre-printed stickers baring Nakamura’s name on the ballot to prevent spelling mistakes.
That article says that stickers aren't generally allowed in California, but it does look as though they're legal in Massachusetts. Of course, stickers won't do a candidate any good if voters are using electronic voting machines. But, perhaps they'd work for candidates voting by mail.

Josh Goodman is a former staff writer for GOVERNING..
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