The Write-In Process: A Quick Primer

By Yadiko Tall, Luther Westbrook, Judith Weston and Brittney Poulis

Russell Neverdon files official documents allowing him to be a "write-in" candidate for State's Attorney on November 4, 2014

Russell Neverdon files official documents allowing him to be a “write-in” candidate for State’s Attorney on November 4, 2014

For Russell Neverdon and Shawn Tarrant, the road to getting elected Nov. 4 will require more than just checking a button on a touch screen.

Neverdon, a candidate for city state’s attorney, and Tarrant, an incumbent in the 40th district of the Maryland House of Delegates, will both need to have voters write their names in in order for them to win, but the write-in process is complicated and often unsuccessful.

Indeed, Baltimore’s election board director Armstead B. C. Jones Sr. told the Baltimore Sun he could not recall a write-in campaign in the city ever having been successful. 

Neverdon, a Morgan graduate, is challenging Marilyn Mosby, who won the Democratic primary in June.

A write-in candidate in an election is a candidate whose name does not appear on the ballot, but is able to receive votes when voters write in the person’s name. 

According to the Maryland State Board of Elections website, a candidate must file a certificate of candidacy with the state and local election office after verifying that they are of the appropriate age and meet residency requirements.

Interested candidates must file a financial disclosure statement when they file for office.  Original signatures are also required.

The appropriate election office has to receive these documents by the deadline, no later than 5 p.m. the Wednesday before the general election.

When asked about the campaign, Mosby told Baltimore Sun reporters, “Anyone is entitled to run a write-in campaign, and I can’t be too presumptuous in counting anyone out.”

Check out the Spokesman’s profile of Neverdon and bio boxes for the state attorney candidates.

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