Five presidential elections ago, when I was editor of another newspaper, I had my all-time encounter with a fringe candidate.
The guy lived in a log cabin (honest, Abe) that he built himself. For a picture taken by our photographer, he posed in front of the place, cradling a rifle in his arms and wearing thick eyeglasses, a red-and-black flannel shirt and one of those cold-weather caps with ear flaps. They were all his idea. He didn’t have a campaign staff to tell him he might want to go for a bit more mainstream look.
In spite of his non-presidential appearance and raging eccentricity, he talked a good game. Frankly, his comments made sense and didn’t sound much different than what the major candidates were saying at the time. I’m not sure if that’s a testament to his candidacy or a a lamentable commentary on the others. Either way, I’ll never forget him as an example of the philosophy that everyone can grow up to be president – or at least think of themselves that way.
So what’s it take to be a fringe, write-in candidate, anyway – by the letter of the law. Here are the requirements, straight from the law’s mouth:
“Any person who desires to be a write-in candidate and have such votes counted at a primary or election may file a declaration of candidacy with the officer designated in RCW 29A.24.070 not later than the day before the primary or election. Declarations of candidacy for write-in candidates must be accompanied by a filing fee in the same manner as required of other candidates filing for the office …”
“Votes cast for write-in candidates who have filed such declarations of candidacy and write-in votes for persons appointed by major political parties … need only specify the name of the candidate in the appropriate location on the ballot in order to be counted. Write-in votes cast for any other candidate, in order to be counted, must designate the office sought and position number or political party, if the manner in which the write-in is done does not make the office or position clear.”
There’s more, but basically, if you want to be a candidate without all the trappings of a normal candidacy, you have until Nov. 3 to throw your name in the hat. Or, in the case of my long ago candidate acquaintance, put the hat on.
Editor and publisher Pat Jenkins can be reached at (425) 432-1209 (extension 1050) and email@example.com