Capitol Report: How to write in your choice for president

Have you had it up to here with Hillary Clinton? Are you done with Donald Trump? There’s a solution for that: writing in the name of your choice for president.

A few caveats apply. But if you’re interested in a write-in candidate, you’re not alone. Google searches related to write-ins have exploded in recent days amid an increasingly bitter campaign between main White House contenders Trump and Clinton.

Now for the caveats. Many states allow write-in candidates, but require candidates to file paperwork in advance of an election. Some states don’t require any paperwork. But still others don’t allow write-in candidates at all.

Ballotpedia breaks all this down in greater detail. Thirty-four states, including perennial battleground Ohio, fall under the first category. There, if you want to write in the name of, say, Evan McMullin, you can. It’s one of the states where the independent — who trailed Clinton and Trump by just four points in a recent Utah poll — is a registered write-in candidate.

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Seven states, meanwhile, have no filing requirements for candidates. Those are: Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. So residents of those states will able to write in any name of their choosing.

New Hampshire voters may remember their 1992 primary election, when consumer advocate Ralph Nader campaigned as a write-in candidate. He said a vote for him was a vote for “none of the above.”

But you’re out of luck if you want to write someone in and live in one of these nine states where write-ins aren’t accepted: Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Dakota.

Rules about write-ins vary by state, but eligibility for the presidency doesn’t change. One must be a natural-born citizen of the U.S.; at least 35 years old; and a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.

Voters disenchanted with the major parties also, of course, have Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein as options. Johnson currently has just 6.5% support in the latest RealClearPolitics average while Stein draws 2.6%.

In the 2012 presidential election, write-in votes accounted for just 0.11% of the vote, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Write-ins aren’t limited to the presidential election. In 2010, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska lost the Republican primary to Joe Miller. She later ran as a write-in and defeated both Miller and Democrat Scott McAdams.

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