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Write-in candidates for federal and state elections

You may decide to write in the name of a candidate who is not listed on your ballot. Learn where to get information on how to write in votes and if they count.

Besides the names on your ballot, you may be able to write in names of other candidates. Most states let you write in votes for president, U.S. senator, and U.S. representative. They may also allow write-in votes for governor and other state offices.

But writing in a name does not mean that vote will count. Many states require that write-in candidates file paperwork before the election. Otherwise, the state will not count the person's votes.

Check with your state election office to find out the rules for your state. If you check using your state's election website, enter "write-in candidates" in the search bar.

LAST UPDATED: February 20, 2024


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