They’re referred to as “plants” or “phantom” candidates. These are the blank lines that appear on your ballot with the name “Write-in.”
Who would you write in? Your name, the name of your significant other? Your parents or children? Your well-off uncle or down-and-out sibling?
Actually, you would have to know the name of the “write-in” who registered to run in that manner and write it in for that vote to count. Most voters have no clue of the name of the write-in candidate, but that nevertheless does not preclude there can be political mischief involved when there’s a “Write-in” line.
Allowing candidates with little funds to run as write-ins might be construed as the most democratic, big-tent method of choosing officials. Don’t believe it.
The truth is write-ins are more often a manipulation of the democratic process, often linked to Democratic or Republican candidates in heavily contested races in an effort to peel away votes from an incumbent or popular challenger.
Write-ins don’t have to raise money to pay a filing fee or collect signatures to get on the ballot.
They simply apply as a “write-in” candidate to get the blank line put into place.
Every year the number of write-ins grows, forcing ever longer ballots even though they are never, ever likely to win. You never see yard signs or political advertising by the write-in candidates. Thus, they are “phantoms” in the political winds.
In fact, a statewide tally of voting records for the past 25 years shows that write-in candidates have never received more than one-third of 1 percent of the vote.
So as you go over your ballot, you’ll find several “write-in” lines, particularly state legislative races, and also some local offices, like the one held by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, who won the Democratic primary in August and has no Republican opposition.
We recommend that you vote for the candidate whose name appears on the ballot and skip the write-in phantom.
The Herald already recommended many of the candidates below, but some were primary winners we did not recommend and are now facing write-ins. In the general election, we recommend a vote for these state House candidates facing only write-ins in Miami-Dade or South Broward counties:
District 102 SHARON PRITCHETT, D
District 103 MANNY DIAZ, JR., R
District 105 CARLOS TRUJILLO, R
District 107 BARBARA WATSON, D
District 110 JOSE OLIVA, R
District 111 EDDY GONZALEZ, R
District 116 JOSE FELIX DIAZ, R
District 117 KIONNE L. MCGHEE, D
District 118 FRANK ARTILES, R
District 119 JEANETTE M. NUNEZ, R