Write-in candidates must wait for results, but all ballots count

Write-in candidates must wait for results, but all ballots count
A Los Angeles voter casts her ballot in the May 2013, city election while her son checks out the setup. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

They aren't on Tuesday's primary ballot, but scores of write-in candidates qualified for a place in the election.

Voters in contests with write-in candidates can write the name of a certified candidate on a paper enclosed with the ballot.

But such candidates shouldn't expect to see their votes tallied alongside those who appeared on the ballot on election night.

Their votes will be counted by hand in the weeks after election day, just as with provisional ballots and mail ballots that arrived after the cutoff time to be tallied on election night.

County elections officials have until July 4 to finish counting all the qualified ballots and reporting the results to the secretary of state.

Write-in candidates sign up after the regular candidate filing period has closed. This year, write-in candidates had until May 20 to sign up for the primary ballot.

Unlike candidates whose names appear on the ballot, write-ins aren't required to pay a filing fee, but they do need to collect signatures from registered voters. For a candidate for statewide office, the number is between 65 and 100.

The rules change for the general election ballot, for which no write-in candidates are allowed. Only the first- and second-place primary finishers, regardless of party, can advance to the fall ballot.

This year, some write-in candidates filed for contests that had only one candidate on the primary ballot, so one write-in in such contests will be guaranteed to finish second and move on to the fall ballot.