Write-In Candidates Occasionally Win Elections

after the contested 2019 nominating process in the 97th District, supporters of the defeated incumbent mounted a write-in campaign in the general election
after the contested 2019 nominating process in the 97th District, supporters of the defeated incumbent mounted a write-in campaign in the general election

In general election races in which the Democratic and Republican parties each nominate a candidate, write-in votes typically make up less than 1% of the final total. In primary elections managed by city and county Electoral Boards rather than political parties, no write-in votes are allowed. There is no write-in option for a referendum vote either.

To get a list of all the people who received a write-in vote requires contacting the local Electoral Board; that information will not be included in the election statistics posted online. The Code of Virginia requires every vote to be counted, but does not require local Electoral Boards always to forward the names of every candidate who received a write-in vote to the State Board of Elections:1

...if no person was elected by write-in votes and the total number of write-in votes for any office is less than (i) 10 percent of the total number of votes cast for that office and (ii) the total number of votes cast for the candidate receiving the most votes, the abstract shall contain only the total number of write-in votes and not the number of write-in votes for each person receiving write-in votes.

Election procedures call for counting a write-in vote when the intent of the voter is readily apparent:2

Determining what may be counted as a write-in for a particular individual often requires determining voter intent. Any abbreviation, misspelling, nickname, or other minor variation in the form of the name of a write-in may be accepted if the electoral board members can reasonably ascertain the voter's intent.

state instructions for write-in votes which should be counted
state instructions for write-in votes which should be counted
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, Ballot Examples (p.5)

In almost every major election, there are more positions to be filled than there are names of candidates on at least one ballot somewhere in Virginia. If there are not enough candidates to fill all the elected offices, then someone who is qualified to serve and receives the greatest number of write-in votes will end up getting elected.

In 2019 there were two vacancies on the board of the Tri-County City Soil Water Conservation District for the City of Fredericksburg. Only one name was on the ballot; only one person had submitted petitions with enough qualified signatures to get listed that year. The winner of at least one of the city's two seats on that board would be determined by write-in votes.

There was only one nominee in part because elections for Soil and Water Conservation District boards are officially non-partisan. Party affiliation is listed on Virginia ballots only for seats in the General Assembly (House of Delegates and State Senate), statewide races (US Senate, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General), and races for US House of Representatives.

Without a political party's endorsement and assistance from partisan volunteers, it is difficult for independent candidates to get enough signatures from qualified voters living within the district, and for the signatures on those petitions to have been observed by a qualified voter as well.

In reality, nearly every elected office in Virginia is now affected by partisan advocacy. Local units of the Democratic and Republican parties endorse candidates for nearly all elections, and mobilize local voters to support their endorsed candidates. People elected to the local Soil and Water District Board become part of the pool of future candidates for more-significant offices, but getting people willing to run for every position requires a substantial recruitment effort which occasionally falls short.

In 2020, voters had to elect four members to the City of Manassas School Board, but only three people qualified to be on the ballot. A former school teacher saw the opportunity and ran a write-in campaign. The three candidates listed on the ballot all received over 6,000 votes, while the successful write-in candidate was elected with just 270 votes.

the write-in candidate with just 270 votes in 2020 earned a seat on the Manassas School Board, equal to candidates who got over 6,000 votes
the write-in candidate with just 270 votes in 2020 earned a seat on the Manassas School Board, equal to candidates who got over 6,000 votes
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2020 November General - Official Results

A year earlier on November 5, 2019, Charles M. Koch Jr. was working one of the polls in Fredericksburg to get signatures on petitions for Sen. Bernie Sanders to appear on the Democratic primary ballot for the 2020 presidential election. He recognized that the "empty" seat for the Tri-County City Soil Water Conservation District Board provided him a unique opportunity for getting elected with minimal effort. Koch asked people at his precinct for write-in votes in an "immediate, grassroots write-in campaign" that lasted only an hour, until he had to run a previously-scheduled errand.

Charles M. Koch Jr. received 21 votes. That was sufficient for victory, and less than the 25 signatures on a petition that would have been required to get his name listed on the ballot as an official candidate. No one requested a recount, but Virginia election procedures allow write-in candidates to request a recount if their vote total was within 5% of the winner. (Candidates listed on the ballot can request a recount only if their vote total was within 1% of the winner.)3

Charles M. Koch Jr. got elected with more write-in votes (21) than anyone else, after just one hour of campaigning
Charles M. Koch Jr. got elected with more write-in votes (21) than anyone else, after just one hour of campaigning
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2019 November General - Official Results

Knowing which candidate is associated with which party is the responsibility of the voters. In local elections, party affiliation is not listed on the ballot.

Voters have to make the link between party and candidate in the polling booth. After the General Assembly passed the Walton Act in 1894 and Virginia replaced oral (viva voce) voting, the written ballots for local offices stopped identifying candidates by political party.4

In almost every General Assembly election, one of the two dominant political parties will choose not to nominate a candidate for a House of Delegates or State Senate race. If the results are a foregone conclusion due to the historical voting pattern in that district, a political party may not invest any effort in contesting the seat. When the Byrd Organization controlled Virginia politics in the middle of the 20th Century, there were some elections without a Republican nominee for even a US Senate seat.5

Occasionally, no candidates will choose to run for an elected position, and no one will qualify for the ballot as a nominee either of a political party or as an independent. In some cases, the number of candidates on the ballot will be less than the number of open seats.

In 2019, 44 people were elected to office by write-in votes. Of those, 35 were for Soil and Water Conservation Board or School Board seats and five for Town Council, often because not enough candidates qualified for the ballot to fill all the open seats. Write-ins also won the offices of Buena Vista District Board of Supervisors in King and Queen County, mayor in the town of Glasgow, and Clerk of the Court in Petersburg because no candidates were listed on the ballot for those offices.

44 write-in candidates were elected in 2019, including the supervisor for the Buena Vista District in King and Queen County
44 write-in candidates were elected in 2019, including the supervisor for the Buena Vista District in King and Queen County
Source: Virginia Public Access Project, Write-in Winners

Two incumbents won re-election in 2019 as write-in candidates. The incumbent in the 30th District of the House of Delegates, and the School Board member for District 5 in Brunswick County, did not get through the Virginia Department of Elections process successfully to be listed on the ballot - but they still defeated the only person whose name did appear.

There were only four names on the ballot for the Dillwyn Town Council in Buckingham County, but six seats to be filled. Two people received more write-in votes than anyone else, and they were elected with a total of seven votes between them. In Broadnax, a town on the boarder of Mecklenburg and Brunswick counties, two people were elected when each received just one write-in vote.6

one person was elected to the Dillwyn Town Council in 2019 received four votes, while another was elected with just three
one person was elected to the Dillwyn Town Council in 2019 received four votes, while another was elected with just three
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2019 November General - Official Results

one person was elected to the Dillwyn Town Council in 2019 received four votes, while another was elected with just three
one person was elected to the Dillwyn Town Council in 2019 received four votes, while another was elected with just three
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2019 November General - Official Results

Perhaps the most unusual race that year was in Glasgow, a town in Rockbridge County. Four people ran for the three seats on town council. The incumbent mayor did not run for re-election and no one qualified on the ballot for that office, so a write-in candidate was guaranteed to win. Shane Watts won the highest number of votes for one of the three seats on town council. He also received the highest number of write-in votes for mayor, 171 of 259 write-in votes. The next closest received 46 votes.

The Virginia State Board of Elections published the official results, but left the winner of the mayor's race undefined. After an election in which he won two offices, Shane Watts chose to accept the position of mayor. He had campaigned for it, informing voters that they could vote for him for town council and also write in his name for mayor.

The candidate winning the fourth-highest number of votes for the three seats on town council was not declared to have been elected; town council had to appoint a replacement to fill the vacancy created by the top vote-getter choosing to become mayor.

Write-in campaigns were common in Rockbridge County in 2019. There were no candidates on the ballot for the Natural Bridge District member of the county School Board or for Lexington's two seats on the Natural Bridge Soil and Water Conservation District Board. There were organized write-in campaigns for the Buena Vista School Board and Buena Vista City Council, but those two candidates were defeated by others who were on the ballot.7

Shane Watts won two offices in the 2019 General Election, and used his write-in victory to become mayor of the Town of Glasgow in Rockbridge County
Shane Watts won two offices in the 2019 General Election, and used his write-in victory to become mayor of the Town of Glasgow in Rockbridge County
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2019 November General - Official Results

the Town of Glasgow in Rockbridge County is at the confluence of the James and Maury rivers
the Town of Glasgow in Rockbridge County is at the confluence of the James and Maury rivers
Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

The failure of a political party to nominate a candidate can increase the number of write-in votes. When only one party has nominated a candidate and no independent candidate managed to get on the ballot, then voters may choose to write-in the name of their preferred candidate rather than vote for the one person listed on the ballot. It is not unusual for a voter to write in the name of a cartoon character, or highly-visible personality not qualified in that district, to register a protest.

In 2019, the Republican Party recruited no candidates for four General Assembly seats in Northern Virginia, since the Democratic incumbents were expected to win re-election in landslide votes. The Commonwealth Republican Women's Club chose to advertise four write-in candidates just a month before the election, in part to offer voters a choice and in part to express frustration at the failure of the local Republican Party to organize effective campaigns.

The effort was symbolic, and the write-in candidates did not choose to campaign. One candidate was even on an overseas vacation in Portugal and Spain, out of the country for the six weeks prior to election day.

The Republican Party considered officially endorsing those four write-in candidates. It decided against a formal endorsement. The main concern was that any effort by the official party organization could be defined as a campaign donation. That would force the token candidates to create enough campaign structure to file statements of organization and campaign finance reports with the state.8

One of the token campaigns was against State Sen. Dick Saslaw. He was re-elected with 92% of the vote, and went on to become the Majority Leader in the State Senate after the Democrats won 21 of the 40 seats in 2019. Saslaw's real competition had bee in the June primary, where a rival Democratic candidate had received 46% of the vote.9

the 2019 write-in campaign against State Sen. Dick Saslaw received less that 8% of the votes
the 2019 write-in campaign against State Sen. Dick Saslaw received less that 8% of the votes
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2019 November General - Official Results

Organized campaigns for write-in candidates are not uncommon in local races where no political party has helped a candidate get on the ballot. Within a small community, kinship networks and friendships can be sufficient to "spread the word" and elect a write-in candidate with no opposition.

In 2019, neither the Democratic or Republican parties nominated anyone to run for the Clerk of the Court position in Petersburg.

The Clerk of the Court position paid $120,000 per year. The eight-year term made it a particularly attractive office compared to the two-year terms for the House of Delegates and four-year terms for nearly all other offices. However, in 2019 no candidate names were printed on the ballot for the Clerk of the Court contest.

The incumbent had been elected as a Democrat in 2011, but did not seek that party's nomination in 2019. She submitted a petition to local election officials to run as an independent, but did not submit enough signatures to qualify as a candidate.

Four people did organize write-in campaigns, including the incumbent and the wife of the mayor. Voters had to mark on the ballot indicating they were making a write-in vote, then write in the name of someone they wanted to see as Clerk of the Court. Voters who did not write in a vote for the Clerk of the Court office risked having other voters write in a majority for a joke candidate, such as Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse.

In the end, the wife of the mayor of Petersburg won with 32% of the write-in votes. The incumbent circuit court clerk, who had failed to get enough signatures to get her name on the ballot, finished fourth with 14%. Write-in votes for "Jesus," and cartoon characters were judged to be invalid by the Petersburg Electoral Board.10

all 2019 votes for Clerk of the Court in Petersburg were write-in, but the Electoral Board reported only the name of the person receiving the most votes and winning the race
all 2019 votes for Clerk of the Court in Petersburg were write-in, but the Electoral Board reported only the name of the person receiving the most votes and winning the race
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2019 November General - Official Results

In other cases, primary elections can result in a faction of dissatisfied voters unwilling to support the official party nominee. That happened in the House of Delegates 97th District in 2019. A county supervisor defeated the incumbent delegate in an unusual primary race that included both a convention and a firehouse primary, in which separate nominating processes chose different "official" candidates.

In the end, the Republican State Committee ruled that the incumbent delegate had lost the primary, but some supporters still mobilized a write-in campaign for him in the general election. The official Republican nominee won the race as expected, but a significant percentage of voters chose to write in the name of the incumbent who had been defeated in the primary.11

the high percentage of the write-in vote in the 97th District reflected dissatisfaction after the Republican primary in 2019
the high percentage of the write-in vote in the 97th District reflected dissatisfaction after the Republican primary in 2019
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2019 November General - Official Results

Write-in candidates may obtain the endorsement of a political party after the nomination deadline has passed, but one write-in candidate with no political party endorsement did win election in the 4th District of the House of Delegates in 1989.

During a coal miner's strike, the son of the incumbent delegate was a Circuit Court judge who imposed high fines on the United Mine Workers. The union then sponsored its local leader, Jackie Stump in write-in campaign which started just three weeks before the election. The only name on the official ballot was Del. Donald A. McGlothlin Sr., a leader in the Democratic Party who had been elected 12 times previously. The Republican Party had little influence in the region at the time, and had not nominated a candidate.

The supporters of the strike took out their frustrations on the incumbent and elected the write-in challenger by a 2-1 margin. Jackie Stump then went on to serve in the General Assembly until retiring in 2005.12

Jackie Stump won the 4th District of the House of Delegates in 1989 via write-in votes
Jackie Stump won the 4th District of the House of Delegates in 1989 via write-in votes
Source: Commonwealth of Virginia, Official Election Results 1989

The other write-in candidate to win a seat in the General Assembly in modern times was Delegate Nick Freitas, who won re-election in 30th District of the House of Delegates even though his name was not on the ballot.

the November 2019 race for the 30th District in the House of Delegates had no Republican candidate on the ballot
the November 2019 race for the 30th District in the House of Delegates had no Republican candidate on the ballot
Source: Virginia Public Access Project, House of Delegates District 30

The incumbent had failed to submit certification of his Republican party nomination, and also failed to send the State Department of Elections his general certification as a candidate. His lawyers initially argued that the state should put the incumbent's name on the ballot anyway, or the result would be a large-scale write-in campaign with a delayed count of ballots on election night.

Then Del. Freitas withdrew from the race before the Virginia State Department of Elections ruled on his qualifications, and had the Republican legislative district committee meet and nominate him again. He was hoping to take advantage of a state law that allowed political parties to nominate a replacement candidate after the filing deadline in case of a death or withdrawal.

in 2019, Del. Nick Freitas's campaign failed to file his original nomination paperwork on time with the Virginia Department of Elections
in 2019, Del. Nick Freitas's campaign failed to file his original nomination paperwork on time with the Virginia Department of Elections
Source: Virginia State Department of Elections (July 19, 2019 agenda)

Del. Freitas withdrew from the race, to allow the Virginia Department of Elections to place his name on the ballot as a "replacement" candidate. The state agency rejected the proposal because no Republican had been nominated by the deadline, so there was no basis for accepting a replacement candidate.

Freitas appealed the decision to the Virginia Board of Elections, noting that other candidates had been granted exemptions from the deadlines. Since the governor at the time (Ralph Northam) was a Democrat, there were two Democrats on the board. The one Republican member supported the appeal, noting that the 2019 candidates in House District 1 and House District 76 had been added to the ballot (by 3-0 votes) despite missing deadlines for submitting required paperwork.

However, the Virginia Board of Elections upheld the decision of the Virginia Department of Elections on a 2-1, party-line vote. In the case of the other two candidates granted exemptions, the party committees (one Republican, one Democratic) had failed to submit just one form confirming the name of their nominated candidate. In addition to missing the credentials that he had won the Republican nomination, Del. Freitas had also failed to submit the form required to establish his qualification to be a candidate.

One Democratic member of the board who rejected the appeal noted that allowing a late nomination would open up a similar process for 40 single-candidate General Assembly races in 2019. Freitas claimed that the decision was pure partisan politics.

The nomination snafu resulted in a November ballot that included only the Democratic candidate's name, plus a space for write-in candidates. The 30th District reliably elected Republicans; in 2016, Donald Trump got 61% of the vote. Freitas immediately planned a write-in campaign, but that required money and volunteers.


Del. Nick Freitas failed to file required paperwork in 2019, then blamed Democratic Governor Ralph Northam's appointees to the Virginia Board of Elections for his inability to be listed on the ballot

The immediate impact of the failure to qualify for the ballot and the need to run a write-in campaign was to limit the resources available for other Republicans in 2019, a year when that party's 51-49 majority in the House of Delegates was at risk. Freitas overcame that challenge when he managed to get an Illinois billionaire to contribute $500,000 to his write-in campaign, and Freitas shared at least $60,000 with other candidates in Virginia. He distributed thousands of pens marked "Write In Nick Freitas," which were popular even with Democrats.

Del. Freitas won the 2019 general election when 58% of the voters wrote in his name. Election officials in the 30th District had to count 15,116 write-in votes. Five teams, composed on two people each, read the printouts from the voting machines and typed names such as Nick Frietas, Nick Fruttis, Nick Freits and Nick Feitas into the official record.

One observer described the count as the "most elaborate spelling bee in Virginia history," and the 15,126 write-in votes were the most ever received in any Virginia race. The electoral board in each jurisdiction within the 30th District made independent judgements on what write-in names could be accepted. As required by the state code, the Culpeper County Electoral Bboard accepted names that were phonetically recognizable such as Nick Freit and Nick Freitaa.

The Electoral Board, composed of two Democrats and one Republican because the governor in 2019 was a Democrat, also counted as valid write-in votes for Nick F, Mick Freitas, and Freitas Freitas. Nick, Nick Fre, Frick Neitas and Freitag Freitag were rejected; they were not judged to reflect a discernible intent of the voter. Because the race was not close, the decisions on what votes to count were not highly contested.13

Del. Nick Freitas ran a successful write-in campaign in 2019 for the 30th District of the House of Delegates
Del. Nick Freitas ran a successful write-in campaign in 2019 for the 30th District of the House of Delegates
Source: Nick Freitas

In the write-in campaign, voters were not required to spell "Freitas" correctly but they did have to fill in the bubble next to the space for writing in the name. Otherwise, the vote would be ignored unless there was a recount. The Handbook to guide the vote count, published by the Virginia Department of Elections, said:14

Determining what may be counted as a write-in vote for a particular candidate often requires determining voter intent: Any abbreviation, misspelling, or other minor variation in the form of the name of a candidate or a political party should be disregarded in determining the validity of the ballot, if the intention of the voter can be ascertained

supporters of Nick Freitas had to fill in a bubble, as well as write in his name, in order for election machines to automatically count their write-in vote
supporters of Nick Freitas had to fill in a bubble, as well as write in his name, in order for election machines to automatically count their write-in vote
Source: Orange County, Sample Ballot Districts 1 and 4

Less than a month after winning re-election to the General Assembly, Del. Freitas announced he would be a candidate for the Republican nomination to run for the US Congress in the 7th District. He lost the race for that Federal office against Rep. Abigail Spanberger in 2020. However, because his term in the House of Delegates ran from 2019-2021, he remained an elected state official.15

Del. Freitas was one of three incumbents who won re-election in 2019 as a write-in candidate. In Brunswick County, the vice-chair of the School Board was not listed on the ballot for District 5. Timothy Puryear still won election with 267 votes; the one candidate whose name was on the ballot received 253 votes. Official election results included 239 votes for other write-in candidates in addition to Timothy Puryear.16

Brunswick County School Board member Timothy Puryear was one of three incumbent elected officials to win re-election as a write-in candidate in 2019
Brunswick County School Board member Timothy Puryear was one of three incumbent elected officials to win re-election as a write-in candidate in 2019
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections, 2019 November General - Official Results

Electoral officials require more time to tabulate results in an election with a high percentage of write-in votes, since the electronic scanners will not calculate who received write-in votes. In 2019, in Gloucester County no one qualified to be listed on the ballot as a candidate for the Abingdon District School Board seat after the incumbent decided to step down. He then changed his mind and decided to run, as did another person; both candidates launched formal write-in campaigns.

On election night, Gloucester County chose to delay its submission of all results to the Virginia Department of Elections while it started to count the write-in votes. It ultimately released unofficial election results on Tuesday night, and tabulated the last of the 708 write-in votes for the school board seat late on Wednesday. The incumbent won re-election.17

In 2020, write-in votes determined that a 22-year old college student and former high school basketball star would become the new mayor of the Town of Cedar Bluff. The incumbent chose to retire after one term, and three candidates sought to replace him.

The winning candidate had considered earlier getting on the ballot and running for Town Council, but said that he "chickened out." Later he decided to become a candidate for mayor, but by then he had to convince voters to write in his name. The challenge was even harder because the COVID-19 pandemic constrained door-to-door campaigning.

He was the second mayor in a row to be elected as a write-in candidate. The retiring incumbent had printed T-shirts for his family to wear in his successful campaign in 2016.18

the 2016 campaign for mayor of Cedar Bluff included T-shirts encouraging voters to write in the candidate's name
the 2016 campaign for mayor of Cedar Bluff included T-shirts encouraging voters to write in the candidate's name
Source: Facebook, Write in Lee Dye for Mayor of Cedar Bluff

Constitutions of Virginia

Nominating Candidates of Political Parties in Virginia

Third Party Candidates and Independents

Virginia Political Parties

When the Republican Party Nominated Two People For the Same Office

the Code of Virginia specifies that, in the order of listing candidates on the ballot, the write-in line is always last
the Code of Virginia specifies that, in the order of listing candidates on the ballot, the write-in line is always last
Source: Virginia Department of Elections, Ballot Standards (March 2018)

Links

References

1. "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia Department of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/GeneralAssembly.html; "Section 24.2-675. Abstracts of votes to be made by secretary and forwarded to State Board and to clerks," Title 24.2. Elections - Chapter 6. The Election - Article 4. Conduct of Election; Election Results, Code of Virginia, https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title24.2/chapter6/section24.2-675/; "Election Day Guide For Officers of Election," Virginia Department of Elections, September 9, 2019, p.27, p.31, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/election-management/election-day-instructions-and-forms/ELECT-103EDGElectionDayGuideRev-9-19.docx (last checked November 27, 2019)
2. "The Handbook: Chapter 14, Canvass," Virginia Department of Elections, October 2019, p.10, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/grebhandbook/individual-chapters/14_Canvass_10-19.pdf (last checked November 30, 2019)
3. "Virginia Bernie Sanders supporter launched impromptu write-in campaign for soil and water board - and won," Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 22, 2019, https://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/virginia-bernie-sanders-supporter-launched-impromptu-write-in-campaign-for/article_952e504c-db2a-5ca2-bcb0-0cd3c14adfcf.html; "Virginia Election Recounts - Step-by-Step Instructions," Virginia Department of Elections, August 2015, p.3, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/formswarehouse/recount/officials/Recount-Step-by-Step-2015.pdf; "Section 24.2-506. Petition of qualified voters required; number of signatures required; certain towns excepted," Title 24.2. Elections - Chapter 5. Candidates for Office - Article 2. Independent Candidates, Code of Virginia, https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title24.2/chapter5/section24.2-506/; "Two new members to join Manassas school board," InsideNOVA, November 21, 2020, https://www.insidenova.com/headlines/two-new-members-to-join-manassas-school-board/article_076d7a4c-2b98-11eb-8a03-677b7e0fbcaf.html; "2020 November General - Official Results, " Virginia Department of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2020%20November%20General/Site/Locality/MANASSAS_CITY/Index.html (last checked November 24, 2020)
4. "Should Local Offices in Virginia Remain Nonpartisan?," WVTF, December 8, 2016, https://www.wvtf.org/post/should-local-offices-virginia-remain-nonpartisan#stream/0; "Viva Voce Voting in Alexandria," Virginia Humanities, https://www.virginiahumanities.org/2014/10/viva-voce-voting-in-alexandria/ (last checked May 8, 2019)
5. "Historical Elections Database," Virginia Department of Elections, https://historical.elections.virginia.gov/elections/search/year_from:1916/year_to:2018/office_id:6 (last checked November 26, 2019)
6. "Write-in Winners," Virginia Public Access Project, https://www.vpap.org/visuals/visual/write-results/; "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia State Board of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/Locality/BUCKINGHAM%20COUNTY/Index.html; "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia Department of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/Locality/BRUNSWICK%20COUNTY/Index.html; "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia Department of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/Locality/KING%20&%20QUEEN%20COUNTY/Index.html; "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia Department of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/Locality/PETERSBURG%20CITY/Index.html; "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia Department of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/GeneralAssembly.html; "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia Department of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/Locality/ROCKBRIDGE%20COUNTY/Index.html; "K&Q election results," Daily Press, November 5, 2019, https://www.dailypress.com/tidewater-review/va-tr-kq-2019-elex-results-20191106-e7xydiy4ojfktbweaiusn7fzg4-story.html (last checked December 9, 2019)
7. "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia State Board of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/Locality/ROCKBRIDGE%20COUNTY/Index.html; "Glasgow's only mayoral candidate is a write-in," WDBJ, August 26, 2019, https://www.wdbj7.com/content/news/Glasgows-only-mayoral-candidate-is-a-write-in-558358911.html; "Shane Watts New Mayor In Glasgow," The News-Gazette, November 13, 2019, https://www.thenews-gazette.com/content/shane-watts-new-mayor-glasgow (last checked December 9, 2019)
8. "Write-in candidates without much attention are late entries in Virginia state races," Washington Post, October 22, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/write-in-candidates-without-much-attention-are-late-entries-in-virginia-state-races/2019/10/22/d45af780-f4f0-11e9-a285-882a8e386a96_story.html (last checked October 26, 2019)
9. "Historical Elections Database," Virginia State Board of Elections, https://historical.elections.virginia.gov/elections/search/date:2019-06-11; "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia State Board of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/GeneralAssembly.html (last checked November 26, 2019)
10. "Circuit Court clerk's ballot will be empty," Progress-Index, June 12, 2019, https://www.progress-index.com/news/20190612/circuit-court-clerks-ballot-will-be-empty; "Petersburg Circuit Court position up for grabs in write-in campaign," Richmond Times-Dispatch, September 12, 2019, https://www.richmond.com/news/plus/petersburg-circuit-court-position-up-for-grabs-in-write-in/article_00d4aea8-a3e8-5455-9541-246ef3d3f912.html; "My Parham wins Petersburg Circuit Court clerk election following write-in campaign," Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 12, 2019, https://www.richmond.com/news/local/my-parham-wins-petersburg-circuit-court-clerk-election-following-write/article_e6fabcf3-00c2-5ae8-b85d-a85d38970415.html (last checked November 12, 2019)
11. "Defeated GOP Del. Chris Peace's father-in-law starts PAC to support write-in effort," Virginia Mercury, October 17, 2019, https://www.virginiamercury.com/2019/10/17/defeated-gop-del-chris-peaces-father-in-law-starts-pac-to-support-write-in-effort/ (last checked November 26, 2019)
12. "Va. Coal Miner Strikes Gold In Politics," Washington Post, November 20, 1989, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1989/11/20/va-coal-miner-strikes-gold-in-politics/71562aa2-42ee-4eb7-aed8-cb7da8a89e31/; "You've never heard of Jackie Stump, but he might be the antidote to Donald Trump," Scalawag Magazine, July 7, 2016, https://www.scalawagmagazine.org/2016/07/jackie-stump/; "Ex-Delegate Jackie Stump, 68, dies; UMW leader won write-in for House," Bristol Herald Courier, June 2, 2016, https://www.heraldcourier.com/news/ex-delegate-jackie-stump-dies-umw-leader-won-write-in/article_a8bcc1a6-2903-11e6-b72d-afefd1df500c.html (last checked October 24, 2019)
13. "Board of Elections approves another candidate for the ballot after paperwork problems," Virginia Mercury, July 11, 2019, https://www.virginiamercury.com/blog-va/board-of-elections-approves-another-candidate-for-the-ballot-after-paperwork-problems/; "GOP state central committee declares Scott Wyatt nominee in 97th District," Tidewater Review, June 22, 2019, https://www.dailypress.com/tidewater-review/news/va-vg-tr-97th-state-central-committee-wyatt-0622-story.html' "Special prosecutor charges Scott Taylor campaign aide with election fraud in signature scheme," Washington Post, May 7, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/prosecutor-accuses-one-person-with-election-fraud-but-clears-former-rep-scott-taylor-in-signature-scheme/2019/05/06/d3c0db9c-7042-11e9-9f06-5fc2ee80027a_story.html; "Del. Nick Freitas withdraws from race," Free Lance-Star, July 19, 2019, https://www.fredericksburg.com/news/local/del-nick-freitas-withdraws-from-race/article_07ea5e57-64d4-570e-93b0-a0ba5a8fdc52.html; "He's back: After withdrawing from race, Nick Freitas is nominated a second time," Orange County Review, July 24, 2019, https://www.dailyprogress.com/orangenews/news/he-s-back-after-withdrawing-from-race-nick-freitas-is/article_c4787e64-adb5-11e9-8823-577074700c6f.html; "GOP committee renominates Del. Nick Freitas less than a week after he withdrew his candidacy," Richmond Times-Dispatch, July 24, 2019 https://www.richmond.com/news/plus/gop-committee-renominates-del-nick-freitas-less-than-a-week/article_b5b6fea4-eb6c-5b1c-b5e5-3dae6cda34e9.html; "Virginia says it's too late to add Republican legislator to the November ballot," Washington Post, August 31, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/virginia-says-its-too-late-to-add-republican-legislator-to-the-ballot/2019/07/31/c8bee712-b3bc-11e9-951e-de024209545d_story.html; "Board of Elections member makes unsuccessful push to get Del. Nick Freitas on the ballot," Virginia Mercury, August 6, 2019, https://www.virginiamercury.com/blog-va/board-of-elections-member-makes-unsuccessful-push-to-get-del-nick-freitas-on-the-ballot/; "State elections officials say it's too late to add GOP Del. Freitas to ballot; he could mount write-in campaign," Richmond Times-Dispatch, August 1, 2019, https://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/government-politics/general-assembly/state-elections-officials-say-it-s-too-late-to-add/article_ceb92818-f7d3-51f5-8c20-6c6b9941ea95.html; "Illinois billionaire donates $500K to Freitas campaign; Spanberger endorses Ridgeway," Culpeper Star*Exponent, September 18, 2019 https://www.starexponent.com/news/illinois-billionaire-donates-k-to-freitas-campaign-spanberger-endorses-ridgeway/article_a849b7c9-7d33-52ca-a5f8-d5000fd6642f.html; "2019 November General - Unofficial Results," Virginia Department of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/GeneralAssembly.html; "'It's a free pen': In Culpeper, delegate's write-in effort gets literal," Virginia Mercury, November 5, 2019, https://www.virginiamercury.com/2019/11/05/its-a-free-pen-in-culpeper-delegates-write-in-effort-gets-literal/; "Counting continues in 30th District House of Delegate election," Free Lance-Star, November 7, 2019, https://www.fredericksburg.com/news/local/counting-continues-in-th-district-house-of-delegate-election/article_3c0c5e56-69ad-5943-be24-5d7ebf6835df.html; "Abundant spelling variations as Culpeper certifies 5,205 write-in votes for Nick Freitas," Culpeper Star-Exponent, November 9, 2019, https://www.starexponent.com/news/abundant-spelling-variations-as-culpeper-certifies-write-in-votes-for/article_973fa6db-37d0-567a-9f04-ea6aa56dee9f.html (last checked November 12, 2019)
14. "The Handbook: Chapter 14, Canvass," Virginia Department of Elections, October 2019, https://www.elections.virginia.gov/media/grebhandbook/individual-chapters/14_Canvass_10-19.pdf; "What happens if voters spell Del. Nick Freitas' name wrong during his write-in campaign," Virginia Mercury, August 28, 2019, https://www.virginiamercury.com/blog-va/heres-what-happens-if-voters-spell-del-nick-freitas-name-wrong-during-his-write-in-campaign/; "From shoo-in to write-in: Paperwork stumble forces a Va. Republican to run the hard way," Washington Post, October 23, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/from-shoo-in-to-write-in-paperwork-stumble-forces-a-va-republican-to-run-the-hard-way/2019/10/22/e1831770-ef74-11e9-b648-76bcf86eb67e_story.html (last checked October 24, 2019)
15. "Nick Freitas Announces Candidacy In Virginia’s 7th Congressional District," Friends of Nick Freitas, https://www.nickforva.com/announces-candidacy/ (last checked December 2, 2019)
16. "2019 November General - Official Results," Virginia Department of Elections, https://results.elections.virginia.gov/vaelections/2019%20November%20General/Site/Locality/BRUNSWICK%20COUNTY/Index.html, "School Board," Brunswick County Public Schools, https://www.brunswickcps.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=205452&type=d&pREC_ID=406170; "Write-in Winners," Virginia Public Access Project, https://www.vpap.org/visuals/visual/write-results/ (last checked December 9, 2019)
17. "Gloucester election results held up for write-in tally," Daily Press, November 5, 2019, ,a href="https://www.dailypress.com/government/elections/dp-nw-elx-gloucester-county-results-20191106-5xar4sr6vzdunfttyb76ltbbri-story.html">https://www.dailypress.com/government/elections/dp-nw-elx-gloucester-county-results-20191106-5xar4sr6vzdunfttyb76ltbbri-story.html; "Hutson stays on Gloucester Board of Supervisors, and Hedrick wins a spot," Daily Press, November 7, 2019, https://www.dailypress.com/government/elections/dp-nws-gloucester-election-folo-1107-20191107-lkr2brrpc5ca3fy3gi4kqem7zm-story.html (last checked March 16, 2020)
18. "Former hoops star is new mayor of Cedar Bluff, Va.," Bristol Herald-Courier, November 14, 2020, https://heraldcourier.com/news/local/former-hoops-star-is-new-mayor-of-cedar-bluff-va/article_e1cdba60-04fa-5fbb-b28d-542a6684a69d.html; "Write in Lee Dye for Mayor of Cedar Bluff," Facebook, October 25, 2016, https://www.facebook.com/933324423465987/photos/a.933684186763344/933832016748561/?type=3&theater (last checked November 16, 2020)

write-in candidates for President and Vice-President can get votes counted only if they file forms in advance
write-in candidates for President and Vice-President can get votes counted only if they file forms in advance
Source: Virginia Department of Elections, Joint Declaration of Intent to be Write-In Candidates for President and Vice-President or President Only (ELECT-644)


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