Is there any effect when NOT voting for an candidate to an an uncontested seat in a primary where a write-in is NOT allowed?

Specifically, I'm voting as a Democrat in the Illinois 2016 primary - sample ballot for my ward screencapped below.


Obviously there is an effect if choose to not vote for a candidate for Clerk of the Circuit Court ( effectively 1/3 of a vote for all of 161, 162, 163 ). As well, it would seem that if I choose to not select 171 for the Recorder of Deeds, then my effective vote for that seat is proportionally reduced by the number of distinct write-in candidates.

However, if I leave my selection for Board of Review, 2nd District empty, is there any effective difference to candidate 181?

  • If yes, what is the effect?
  • If no, then what is the reason for listing that seat at all since it is unopposed? Is it just a courtesy to the candidate? Is there a legal requirement? Just logistics of the balloting process?
  • Yes, the effect is that the reported total of votes cast is increased by one. – horns Mar 11 '16 at 22:56
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    @Kyralessa write ins are not allowed in all situations. As stated at the top of the post, I am specifically asking about races where a write-in is not permitted. – Peter Vandivier Mar 16 '16 at 15:49
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    @PeterVandivier, apologies for not paying attention. But to be fair, you should've put the text in bold. Oh wait, you did. Well, uh...I'll see myself out. – Kyralessa Mar 16 '16 at 16:06

Only voting has an effect. Not voting has no effect.

The difference between multiple candidates running against one another and a single candidate running unopposed is in what happens if you do vote. In a contested race, your vote for one of the candidate contributes to that candidate's relative advantage over the other candidates. In an uncontested race, voting for the candidate has the effect that your vote is recorded, and cannot affect the outcome of the race.

Unopposed candidates are legally required to appear on the ballot. Other reasons for including them may include: to inform the voter about who is running, and to avoid confusion over certain elected positions "missing" from the ballot.

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    To rephrase then - is there any effect beyond the recording of the vote? Does it benefit the Election Commision, Party, or Candidate in any to cast a vote such that not casting it is detrimental by omission ( excluding the vanity of the candidate - "I got X votes!" vs "I got X+1 votes!" ). Perhaps is it a datapoint in some voter participation algorithm in some lobbyist database? With the foregone action of the casting of my ballot, is this checkbox anything but a waste of ink? – Peter Vandivier Mar 11 '16 at 21:16
  • In general, no. However, there may be individual organizations, municipalities, etc. that make some use of this data. I'm not sure how this data would be useful to anyone, though. Usually the relevant statistics are total voter turnout and the percentage of total votes that a candidate acquired. I doubt that anyone would notice or care if an unopposed candidate got 100% of the vote without all turned out voters having voted for them. – Era Mar 11 '16 at 21:40

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