I’m as frustrated as many of you about this year’s presidential campaign. Even before the recent Wikileaks revelations tainting the Clinton campaign and the videotape adding another indictment against the Trump candidacy, this year’s election fell so low in the gutter it would take a ladder to reach the curb. But if you are frustrated about choosing between the major candidates or any of the third party candidates listed on the California ballot, take heart—it’s not too late to establish a write-in candidate.
It’s just that California makes it hard to do so.
Rules were changed not too long ago that requires a write-in candidate to be, in essence, registered with the state so that the write-in’s votes would be counted. If the candidate is not registered with the Secretary of State then the vote counters ignore any write-in vote. This will hurt that perennial write-in candidate Mickey Mouse, who would probably score a record vote this year.
In truth, under the rules, it is not the candidate that registers with the Secretary of State but rather electors pledged to vote for the candidate.
In the presidential election, you are really voting for electors who cast a ballot in the Electoral College. California has 55 electors based on the number of representatives in Congress.
So a write in candidate must have 55 individual electors sign up and send a document called “Declaration of Write-In Candidacy” to the Secretary of State pledging to vote for the candidate for president and vice-president named in the document — should their candidates gain the majority vote of the state’s voters.
The only qualification for a Presidential Elector is that the individual be a registered voter in California. There are no restrictions as to political party identification. In addition, the electors must take an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States before a notary or other official who also must verify in the document that the oath was administered.
The Secretary of State must receive the elector’s declaration documents by October 25, so there is not much time to mount a campaign.
In considering a run for the big job, I reached out to San Francisco Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders to see if she wanted to join my ticket as Vice-President. She demurred, saying it would be unethical to both write about the presidential campaign and run for the office at the same time. Of course, someone citing ethics in a run for the presidency this year is immediately suspect, so it’s just as well.
If you want a chance to run as a write-in candidate act quickly, time is running out. Here are the papers you need to download to secure your 55 electors.
Hurry. Mickey is probably lining up Donald and Goofy as electors right now.