Published Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Georgia law restricts write-in candidates for General Election

Editorial

We have heard from disgruntled Georgia voters who don't like any of the three candidates -- Republican Nathan Deal, Democrat Roy Barnes and Libertarian John Monds -- listed on the Nov. 2 General Election ballot for governor. These voters are turned off by the negative campaign ads and issues concerning the candidates -- particularly issues involving Deal and Barnes.

These disgruntled voters say if they go to the polls, they will write in the name of another candidate -- someone like Karen Handel, or Thurbert Baker, or maybe one of the other candidates who were defeated in the July Democratic and Republican primaries for governor.

But hear this:

If you write in the name of a candidate who ran for governor and was defeated, your write-in vote will not be counted. Why? Because that's how Georgia's law is written regarding write-in candidates.

The law says only qualified write-in candidates can have their votes counted, and candidates who have run for the office in the primary and lost are not eligible to be a qualified write-in candidates.

To be a qualified write-in candidate only requires sending a notice to the Secretary of State's Office and running a legal ad in a newspaper. Only two write-in candidates bothered to meet the criteria. The two qualified write-in candidates for governor are David C. Byrne of Kennesaw and Neal Horsley of Carrollton. Their names will not be on the ballot, but they are the only two names you can write in and have their votes counted.

Thus, you really have five choices for governor. Three names -- Deal, Barnes and Monds -- will be on the ballot, and you can write in the names of either Byrne or Horsley.

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