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Write-in Candidates Shake up Ballot–or Not

Write-in Candidates Shake up Ballot–or Not

Never a dull moment in the circus of California’s relatively new top two primary system. Not only are many voting districts seeing Democrat on Democrat and Republican on Republican battles, but some races only have one candidate listed to vote for. However, some of these will be two person races in November thanks to certified write-in candidates.

So how will some of these districts with one candidate in California’s primary election have two in the general? Those write-in candidates can now make the November ballot with only one vote if there is only one candidate listed on the ballot.

Still other races with two candidates of one party and a write-in from another party have upset potential if the write-in can get voters or their party out in greater numbers than at least one of the listed candidates. Incumbent Democrat state Senator Ben Hueso and Republican state Assemblyman Brian Jones face this circumstance according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

In California’s 76th Assembly District in 2012, three Republicans faced off in the first round of the top two primary system in the state. The primary pared that list down to two Republicans in the general election. Two years later only one name appears on the primary ballot for the 76th, controversial incumbent Republican Rocky Chavez, but one name is available for write-in, Republican Thomas Krouse. As the Union-Tribune points out, all a write in candidate has to do in this case is vote for himself and he will be listed as the second candidate on the November ballot running against the incumbent.

The top two drama then carries forward November where the big question is, can the newcomer unseat the one that ran alone on the June ballot? Voters will have to wait on that, but June 3 may bring some interesting match ups and possibilities and write-ins find out whether they made it through to the big show general election and what that means for the next few months.

One additional factor in these races is the expected record low voter turnout. That means that those candidates most effective at getting their proponents out to vote are likely to win a spot on November’s ballot.

A list of races with certified write-in candidates is available on the Secretary of State website.

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