Union Tribune foolishly calls for San Diegans to spoil their ballots

Daniel Watts Daniel Watts 6 Comments


“Send a message to the GOP and Trump by writing in Ronald Reagan for president.”

That’s the crux of the Union-Tribune’s June 2nd editorial.

It’s also foolish and irresponsible advice, especially from a newspaper.

Under California law, write-in votes aren’t counted unless they’re cast for certain qualified write-in candidates. To become a qualified write-in candidate, you have to fill out forms and submit them to the Secretary of State by the May 17th deadline, which “Ronald Reagan” hasn’t done. Any votes cast for him won’t appear in the official results. If you vote for Reagan, no one else will ever know about it. You might as well scribble a happy face on the ballot. It’s sending the same message – that is, no message at all.

Voting for an unqualified write-in candidate doesn’t send a message. It spoils your vote.

To send a message to Trump, send him one he’ll be able to read: Vote for John Kasich or another candidate whose name will actually appear on the ballot. If you insist on writing in someone, pick one of the real write-in candidates. Lists of qualified write-in candidates are available here and here.


Comments 6

  1. Hi Daniel: Thanks for sharing our recommendation, and opining on it. As the U-T’s editorial and opinion director, I greatly appreciate that. The board discussed advising GOP voters to cast ballots for an actual potential candidate, but decided against that because it wouldn’t persuade another candidate to run (they’ve all dropped out) and it would be tough to tell how many people wrote in that name because we advised it as a concerted effort or because they wanted to, as individuals. Also, many people have already sent in their ballots and written in John Kasich or some other current pol, so that further muddies any message. Thanks for the chance to explain our thinking, and again urge GOP voters to write in Ronald Reagan. Cheers.

  2. Post

    Do you have any idea how elections work? You say it’d be “tough to tell” if someone voted for Kasich because you urged them to, or because they voted for Kasich prior to him dropping out.

    But if you vote for Reagan, it’ll won’t just be “tough” to tell how many people voted for him; it’ll be IMPOSSIBLE to tell. Period.

    No one will know you voted for Reagan. The vote will not be counted, it will not appear in any results at all, and Trump – or the GOP – will not have any idea that it happened. If anything, the fact that you urged people to vote for Reagan, followed by a grand total of zero Reagan votes appearing in the results, will make it look like everyone consciously refused to vote for Reagan.

    I can’t believe you’re honestly urging people to cast votes that will not appear in any results, anywhere.

  3. Post

    No one had to “write in” John Kasich, by the way: Kasich is on the ballot, which means votes for him will be counted.

    Have you even looked at the ballots that were mailed home to voters?

  4. I find this pipe dream extremely amusing in light of the fact that the Republican establishment hated Reagan at this same stage of the game. If they didn’t he would have been President four years sooner.
    It’s also amusing that Republicans cannot take their own advice from decades past to ” hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils” because a third party vote or not voting at all is just like voting Democrat.
    Why can’t you take your own advice?

  5. Matt, I think there are many voters that would agree with me that your paper owes it to the San Diego community to address the consequences of its proposal.

  6. A bizarre recommendation. Let’s assume this U-T recommendation is widely followed.

    As far as the press (and Trump) will be able to tell from the voting results, a lot of people chose NOT to vote for a Presidential candidate. That can be interpreted many ways (apathy, giving up, etc.), but it’s IMPOSSIBLE to know how many voted for Reagan.

    Come on, Matt — occasionally youse guys at the U-T make a mistake. You’re only human. This recommendation obviously was a big one. Admit it, and move on.

    BTW, I voted for Cruz, and in November I’ll be voting straight Republican — except for President. I’ll be voting for the two ex-governors running as the LP Presidential ticket — Gary Johnson (NM) and Bill Weld (MA).

    THAT’S the way to send the message that Trump does not and will not represent my viewpoint. And unlike the gonzo U-T strategy, my vote WILL be counted.

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