David Orr, Cook County Clerk
         
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About Write-In Candidates

Prospective write-in candidates in Illinois must file paperwork with the county clerk, or election authority, in each jurisdiction where their name will appear on the ballot.

In suburban Cook County, a write-in candidate must submit a Write-in Candidate Declaration of Intent form at the Cook County Clerk’s downtown Chicago office, 69 W. Washington St., Fifth Floor.

The Clerk’s office will provide a list of eligible write-in candidates to each precinct on Election Day. This list enables election judges to determine which write-in candidates are running in their precinct. Only votes for eligible write-in candidates are counted.

Voters can vote for a write-in candidate on a paper ballot or a touch screen.

Casting a vote for a write-in candidate

On a paper ballot:

  • Write the name of the write-in candidate on the line provided in a particular race.
  • Mark the corresponding arrow

In single-vote races, no other votes can be cast in a race where a write-in vote was cast. In multiple-vote races, a voter may cast one or more votes for write-in candidates, but is limited to the number of votes allowed in a given race.

On a touch screen:

  • Press the “write-in” box at the bottom of the list of candidates. A keyboard will appear.
  • Type a name using the letters on the keyboard and space key to separate the first and last name.
  • When finished, press “OK.”

In single-vote races, no other votes can be cast in a race where a write-in vote was cast. In multiple-vote races, a voter may cast one or more votes for write-in candidates, but is limited to the number of votes allowed in a given race.

Validity of write-in votes

Complete accuracy of a write-in candidate’s name is not necessary as long as the election judges can determine a voter’s intent to select a specific write-in candidate. There should be some relationship between the appearance or sound of the name written or printed on the ballot and that of the write-in candidate’s actual name.

If there is a dispute, a majority of the election judges must agree as to the intent of the voter. If a majority agreement among the election judges cannot be reached, the write-in vote will not be counted.