My Prediction: The Year of the Write In


Canvassing this weekend (in my non-Sunlight role) I knocked on the door of a man who offered to bet me a bottle of Glenlivet that the Democrats, if elected, wouldn’t pursue any fewer earmarks than the Republicans had in the past 8 years. He had recently written his Congressional delegation, demanding to know which earmarks came from which representative, and had yet to get any satisfactory answers.

I might as well write in my wife, he said.

I will make only one on-the-record prediction this year: there will be more write-ins than at any mid-term election in 20 years. Depending upon who you ask, between 23 and 38% of Americans do not align themselves with either major party. Some fraction of those won’t vote for either party, but won’t vote for a third party candidate, either. The write-ins won’t be enough to tip any election or make any major news stories, but it will be there, a small, quirky fact on the side.

It will be interesting to read the tea-leaves for future politics in the list of wives, dogs, husbands, long-dead cousins, TV characters, and high school teachers that pour out of the pens (or electronic push-pads) of citizens who at the last minute, can’t resist putting down some character in their own life instead of the candidate they intended to support.

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