GREENSBORO, N.C. - Your options on the North Carolina ballot for the next President: Donald J Trump, Hillary Clinton, Gary Johnson or Write-In. More people than ever before are thinking about writing in another candidate. There's proof. Google search trends for "write in vote" from 2004 to now in the United States had a massive spike after August.
And who are they thinking of writing in? Some of the top related searches are Bernie Sanders, Ron Paul, John Kasich and Mickey Mouse. But before you opt to write in, read this:
“If you write your own name in or the name of some other candidate, that won't get counted. We only count certain candidates that were approved by the State Board of Elections,” said Charlie Collicutt with the Guilford County Board of Elections.
Yep, in North Carolina someone only qualifies as a write in candidate if they presented a petition with at least 500 signatures. This year, the Green Party's Jill Stein is the only one to do that in the Presidential race. She had a petition of about 1,100 people.
So it might not count, but most people who write in don't actually think their candidate will win. The whole point of writing in someone to show your protest. Let people know about someone else who should have been on the ballot. Well in North Carolina, they don't even track who you write in if it's not Jill Stein. So no one is going to find out about your protest.
“We'll look for the approved names and report those at canvas. Any of the other names, we may document them somewhere. But there's no requirement that we do that,” Collicutt said. “Any write in votes that are not cast for one of the approved candidates will just be termed miscellaneous."
The bottom line is you've got one vote. No matter who you pick, make sure it counts.