A "write-in candidate" is a person:
- whose name is not printed on the ballot (see 115.453(4,5,6) RSMo); and
- who has filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for election to office with the proper election authority prior to 5:00 p.m. on the second Friday immediately preceding the election day. It is not necessary to file a declaration of intent if there are no candidates on the ballot for that office. (see 115.453 (4) RSMo)
Frequently asked questions on write-in candidates
Can a write-in candidate be on a primary election ballot?
No. (Section 115.453 (5) RSMo)
If a candidate runs in a primary election and loses, can the person run in the general election for the same office?
No. If a candidate files for nomination to an office and is not nominated at a primary election, that candidate cannot file a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for the same office at the general election. (Section 115.453(4) RSMo)
Are write-in candidates posted at the polling place?
No. The election authority shall furnish a list to the election judges and counting teams prior to Election Day of all write-in candidates who have filed a declaration of intent. (Section 115.453(4) RSMo)
Are write-in votes counted for every name that is written in?
No. If a candidate is on the ballot for an office, write-in votes are counted only for the candidates who have filed a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate with the proper election authority. (Section 115.453(4), first sentence) If no candidate is on the ballot for an office, it is not required to file a declaration of intent and votes are counted for every name properly written in. (Section 115.453(4) RSMo, last sentence)
What if the voter casts a vote for a candidate on the ballot and properly writes in the name of someone for the same office?
In this case, no candidate for the office shall be counted as this is considered an over vote. If cross (X) marks appear next to the names of more candidates for an office than are entitled to fill the office, no candidate for the office shall be counted as voted for. (Section 115.453.2)
Can a person file as a write-in candidate for United States President?
Yes. When submitted to the election authority, each declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for the office of United States president shall include the name of a candidate for vice president and the name of nominees for presidential elector equal to the number to which the state is entitled. At least one qualified resident of each congressional district shall be nominated as presidential elector. Each such declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate shall be accompanied by a declaration of candidacy for each presidential elector in substantially the form set forth in subsection 3 of section 115.399 RSMo . Each declaration of candidacy for the office of presidential elector shall be subscribed and sworn to by the candidate before the election official receiving the declaration of intent to be a write-in, notary public or other officer authorized by law to administer oaths. (Section 115.453 (6) RSMo)