The instructions for the counting of write-in ballots is somewhat difficult to understand in the Election Officials Manual. Previously we understood that all write-in votes were to be manually counted. However, upon further investigation it appears that Boards of Elections (BOE) may not be required to to manually count write-in votes if “1) The only candidates for a given contest are write-in candidates and there are more write-in candidates than the number of candidates to be elected; or 2) The number of times write-in votes for that contest were recorded, regardless of whether it was recorded for an eligible write-in candidate, is greater than or equal to the number of votes recorded for a candidate whose name is printed on the ballot.”
Earlier in the manual it instructs “Ballots containing potential write-in votes should be segregated for inspection…If the voter has written in an eligible write-in candidate’s first and last names, the board of elections must count this as a valid write-in vote. In this case, the board shall follow the manual hand count instructions explained in Chapter 11.” This sounds like all write-in ballots must be hand-counted. However, it is likely that later text is a clarification.
Below is the the page from the manual so you can read it yourself. We recommend discussing this with your BOE before the election. The portions discussed are highlighted.
As always, please check this information out for yourself.
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