Voters who write in Donald Duck to be the next sheriff or state auditor this November aren't just throwing away their vote – they're bogging down the system, election officials said Monday.
Donna Jill Johnson, the circuit clerk for Lauderdale County, said she wants the public to know that write-in votes do not count.
More than 1,300 people wrote in candidates in the Aug. 6 primary election, including one voter who put down his own name for every race on the ballot, Johnson said.
"People think it’s cute and funny to put Humpty Dumpty and Donald Duck and Tarzan and their own name on there," Johnson said. "It’s a waste of time and it’s a waste of effort because it does not count.”
Readers Poll: write in votes
Have you ever written in a vote for a humorous candidate, such as a cartoon character, in an election?
The paper ballots have to be scanned into a computer and if a name is not recognized in the system, the vote tally takes longer, according to Johnson.
She said Mississippi law requires a write-in section, which may be used under certain circumstances, like if a candidate dies or is disqualified after the ballot is printed.
"If you don't want to vote for somebody, skip it," Johnson said.
Awana Simmons, the chair of the Lauderdale County Election Commission, gave an update Monday on the preparations for the Nov. 5 election, which covers statewide, state legislative and county offices.
Receiving and returning managers, responsible for picking up and turning in election day materials, took part in a training earlier this month, Simmons said.
Next week, election officials will program the machines for the election and run test ballots to make sure they are working properly, she said.