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News Link • Voting and Elections

Fake write-in votes cost the county (Graphic from 2006 - Sticker Kit)

The Republic | Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:26 PM

If some voters had their way, Mickey Mouse would be an Arizona senator. And U.S. president. And a mayor. And on every local school board. Donald Duck, a close runner-up for all those races, likely would concede.

Mickey has always been the front-runner among fake write-in candidates. Superheroes from Marvel comics are popular, too, along with other characters from box-office favorites around election time. Some voters write in their names, or names of friends or family members. Others go on rants about politics on the write-in line.

While some may find it funny, Maricopa County elections officials aren’t laughing.

Every write-in entry must be verified with the list of legitimate write-in candidates for that election, by a three-member review team. In the August primary election, Maricopa County elections officials saw the biggest ratio of fake-to-legitimate write-in candidates in recent memory: Among 90,433 entries in write-in slots, 1,738 were votes for legitimate write-in candidates.

Each fake entry cost Arizona counties money and manpower and slowed down the tabulation process, said Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell, who oversees elections.


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