Your vote won't count: what you need to know before you 'write-in' a Presidential candidate

Sen. Cory Gardner said he would 'write-in' Pence
Posted at 8:24 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-13 13:33:15-04

DENVER -- Write-in votes for President in Colorado will not count unless you choose from six registered candidates.

In Colorado, write-in candidates for President must file an affidavit with the Secretary of State's Office 110 days before the election.

Over the weekend, Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, tweeted a statement following the now-viral Donald Trump video from 2005.

In his statement, Gardner asked for Trump to step aside.

"If he fails to do so, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton but will instead write-in my vote for Mike Pence," wrote Gardner.

"What happens if I write-in a vote for Mike Pence?" Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger asked Colorado's Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert.

"Your vote won't count because Mike Pence hasn't filed an intent to run as a write-in candidate," said Staiert. "In Colorado, you have to file that intent to run, in order for a vote for a write-in to count."

"So, all these years when someone writes in any name under 'write-in,' that may not have counted," asked Zelinger.

"Most likely, it did not count," said Staiert.

Multiple emails to Gardner's spokespeople were not returned on Monday.

There are only six candidates for President that will have votes count for them, if you write their names in.

  • Bruce Lohmiller: Green/Democratic
  • Thomas Nieman: Unaffiliated/Libertarian
  • Corey Sterner: Unaffiliated/Republican
  • David Perry: Republican
  • Brian Anthony Perry: Unaffiliated
  • Cherunda Fox: Unaffiliated

Those candidates do not have to pay the $1,000 filing fee to be have their name printed on the ballot for President in Colorado.

"They're the only ones that we'll be reporting their results," said Staiert. "A lot of times people write themselves in. We've seen fictional characters. They can't possibly believe that that vote's going to count."

A vote for Pence, or any running mate, would only count if the top of the ticket were to step down and the national committee for that party inserted the running mate as the new candidate. More simply, if Trump were to step aside, and he has said he won't be doing that, any vote already cast for Trump would count for the new Republican nominee.

"They would fill the vacancy and then all votes that were cast for the Republican nominee would be counted toward the vacancy," said Staiert.

Through Monday morning, 2,472 military and overseas ballots have been turned in from Colorado voters.

  • 1,217 Democratic ballots returned
  • 695 Unaffiliated ballots returned
  • 507 Republican ballots returned

If any of those voters wanted to change their vote based recent events, they won't be able to revote.

"We have no way to trace the voter's ballot. Once that vote is cast, the ballot is separated from the envelope and we have no idea who voted what," said Staiert. "If you called and said, 'I want to withdraw my vote for Donald Trump,' we wouldn't be able to go get your ballot."