With the most recent comments that have surfaced, I see many Republicans saying they will write in Pence on Election Day. If people write in "Pence", does that vote still go to the combined "Trump/Pence" ticket since Pence is part of that ticket?

  • 2
    This may well be different in every state.
    – Brythan
    Commented Oct 9, 2016 at 18:10

1 Answer 1


Remember that voters don't actually get to vote for Trump/Pence or Clinton/Kaine.

Rather, due to the Electoral College, voters are voting for something like:

"Electors from the State of Ohio who are pledged to cast votes in the Electoral College for the ticket of Trump / Pence"

Since there are presumably no electors pledged to vote for Pence for president, a voter would have a tough time writing that in.

EDIT I tracked down the exact language from one ballot in Ohio, which reads:

"A vote for any candidates for President and Vice President shall be a vote for the electors of those candidates whose names have been certified to the Secretary of State."

The ballot also has write-in spaces, but it is unclear to me how write-ins work without Electoral College Electors to actually cast those votes.

  • You can see here how write-in presidential votes work in California. Basically, you can only write in a vote for a candidate who has jumped through a number of hoops before the election, including rounding up a slate of electors who would be sent to the Electoral College in the event that the write-in candidate carries the state. Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 4:56
  • "a voter would have a tough time writing that in." - Actually, I'm pretty sure it's very easy to write in whatever you want, but if it's not valid then it's just counted as a non-vote. Other than that, this seems right to me.
    – Bobson
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 5:51
  • In Alaska in 2010, write-in votes for Joe Miller counted, even though he wasn't a write-in candidate (he was on the ballot as the Republican nominee). By that rule, write-in votes for Mike Pence should count for the Trump electors, as Pence is a candidate for Vice-President on that ticket. So writing in Pence would be just a backdoor way of voting for Donald Trump. Of course, that rule was used just in that Alaska Senate election and didn't affect the outcome, so it was never tested in court. Ohio could choose to count their write-in votes differently.
    – Brythan
    Commented Oct 16, 2016 at 11:02
  • There was no presidential election in 2010, and Joe Miller was running for Senator, which is elected by popular vote. The President is elected by the Electoral College; the popular vote is only for choosing Electors, and that creates the issue with write-in votes at the Presidential level that does not exist at other levels.
    – abelenky
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 11:44

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