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Essential Politics October archive

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California, your official presidential write-in options include Bernie Sanders and Evan McMullin

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of five officially certified write-in candidates for president in California. (Christopher Dolan / Associated Press)
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of five officially certified write-in candidates for president in California. (Christopher Dolan / Associated Press)

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla released the names of the five officially qualified write-in candidates for the presidential race in California, along with their vice presidential running mates.

Contrary to popular belief, votes for write-in candidates only count when the candidate is officially certified. (That means votes for Mickey Mouse, Giant Meteor, or Chuck Norris will not be counted.)

The officially qualified write-in candidates are:

  • Laurence Kotlikoff for president and Edward Leamer for vice president

  • Mike Maturen for president and Juan Muñoz for vice president

  • Evan McMullin for president and Nathan Johnson for vice president

  • Bernard "Bernie" Sanders for president and Tulsi Gabbard for vice president

  • Jerry White for president and Niles Niemuth for vice president

Now, that doesn't mean that Sanders and the other candidates wanted to be recognized as official write-ins. California law only requires that 55 "electors" sign on to declare a person a write-in candidate, not that the person consent, according to a statement from the Secretary of State's Office.

A full list of each candidate's electors can be seen here.

Write-in votes for these candidates will not be reported until the counties send their final vote certifications after the post-election canvass period, meaning a write-in vote will take longer to count. 

You might be wondering: Does spelling count? The Secretary of State says election officials "will accept a reasonable facsimile of the spelling" of a candidate's name. For example, "Joe Smith" and "Joseph Smith" would both be accepted.

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