Planning to write in a candidate for President? Here’s how to make it count

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – This presidential election has left many people dissatisfied with their choices. Even Ohio Gov. John Kasich wrote in Arizona Sen. John McCain as his choice for president, but does that vote count?

The answer may surprise you, but some write-in votes are not counted.

“Voters need to know that they’re only able to vote for a write-in candidate in a race in which somebody has been certified as a valid write-in candidate,” said Ed Leonard, director of the Franklin Co. Board of Elections.

Leonard said Gov. Kasich’s vote for McCain will not get counted, because he was not certified by the State.

“The rest of the votes that he cast will be counted, but the vote for president will simply be lumped into a category that won’t be counted.”

What if you don’t know how to spell a candidate’s name?

“As long as we can determine the intent, so if it’s close enough we will count the vote for a write-in candidate,” said Leonard.

There are 18 certified presidential write-in candidates in Ohio, but some say it’s not worth your vote.

“If they’re not qualified to be counted, then it’s a waste and that’s disappointing,” said voter Beverly Grubb.

“I think it’s a good option. However, it’s not an effective option,” said voter Larry Morgan.

Despite being discontented with both major party candidates, voter Howard Task said he still made a choice.

“Unfortunately in this situation, you have two candidates that I’m not really very excited about,” said Task. “I would’ve loved to write in John Kasich, for example, but he’s not going to get enough votes. He’s not going to win, so it’s a wasted vote.”

“At the top of the ticket, they both have faults, however I made a choice and I thought long and hard about it and I think it’s what you should do,” said voter Michael Grubb.

“Occasionally we’ll get a vote for Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse, those types of things,” said Leonard.

He said everyone has a right to express their opinion.

“Often times people use that ballot and casting that ballot as an expression of their displeasure with the candidates that are on the ballot,” said Leonard. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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