In this year’s presidential election, 1,138 registered voters in the District of Columbia wrote in candidates for president of the United States — a number that exceeded the votes cast for independent Ralph Nader (958) and nearly double the number cast for Statehood Green candidate Cynthia McKinney (590). In fact, there was one write-in presidential vote for every 15 votes cast for the Republican ticket. However, while votes for McKinney, Nader, and John McCain were duly tallied, it is my understanding that the D.C. Board of Elections and Ethics has decided not to tally write-in votes, even those cast for write-in candidates who officially registered with DCBOEE and met all of DCBOEE’s standards.
Perhaps DCBOEE is trying to save effort and money, which is reasonable. After all, even if I and the other 1,137 write-in voters had all voted for the same registered ticket (in my case, the Libertarian ticket), the Democratic ticket would still have won D.C.’s three electoral votes. Still, I did take the time to vote, and I would like my vote to be counted. One could argue that it would have saved effort and money to not bother with a presidential election in D.C. at all — every Democratic ticket since 1992 has received at least 85% of the vote, and there was never any doubt that Barack Obama would win D.C.’s three electoral votes. But we voted anyway, and those votes were counted, because that’s how a democratic system works.
In such an overwhelmingly Democratic city, I would hope our officials would honor the cry of Democrats everywhere after the 2000 election, and count every vote.