If a write-in candidate won the November 2024 general election for President in some state, how would electors be chosen, since no political party had appointed electors in advance for that candidate?

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    This would have to happen in an alternative universe as there was no November 2022 general election for President. Obvious error aside, AFAIK, you have to present a slate of electors as part of your application to be a candidate on the general election ballot for President in a state and without an application your write in votes aren't counted. If I can find a source that says so, I'll post that as an answer.
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 28, 2023 at 22:38
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1 Answer 1


The National Association of Secretaries of State publishes a summary of state laws regarding presidential elections.

As one may expect, the laws vary by state.

  1. The write-in candidate must file and include a slate of electors,

  2. The write-in candidate must file, but need not supply a slate of electors,

  3. The write-in candidate need not file, or

  4. Write-in candidates are not permitted.

In those cases where a slate of electors is not required, the state must necessarily have a means for appointing the electors.

The summary provides the statutes that apply in the various states.

For the State of Alabama (mentioned in a comment), candidates appearing on the ballot must supply the names of electors to "the Secretary of State no later than the 82nd day next preceding the day fixed for the election." (Section 17-14-31) However, write-in candidates cannot supply those names at that time.

In Section 17-14-34, the Governor "must certify the returns, ascertain which electors are elected, and notify them by proclamation."

Should write-in candidates (for the office of President and Vice President) succeed, then electors need to be chosen and their names sent to the Secretary of State (the 82nd day requirement does not apply). The Governor can then complete Sec. 17-14-34 as required by law.

While the law does not spell out what must happen in the case of a successful write-in campaign, it is, nonetheless, clear that the names of electors must be submitted post-election; otherwise, there would be no vote for the state at the meeting of the electoral college.

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    Is there any way for you to quote the relevant parts of the summary, possibly only cherry-picking a few examples if there's too much diversity? As it stands, if the link rots -- which happens regularly -- your answer will boil down to "it depends" which while technically true, isn't exactly useful :x Nov 29, 2023 at 10:00
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    @MatthieuM. - The relevant parts include implied Yes/No/-- answers to: "Write-in Permitted?", "Registration Required?", and "Electoral Slate Required?", all of which depend on the state. This could be constructed as a table with an entry for each state. The linked source also provides information about filing deadlines which would be difficult to include in the table. Adding a table introduces the possibility of data (even examples) becoming outdated due to changed laws. The most likely scenario for "link rot" is a change in the URL (due to website maintenance) which may be easily corrected.
    – Rick Smith
    Nov 29, 2023 at 14:15
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    @BurnsBA: Is there any reason why a state couldn't have the individual nominate their Electors after they're found to have won? The only possible ambiguity I could see arising would be if an individual were to wait an unreasonably long time after winning to announce their Electors; if a winner-apparent couldn't manage to find Electors within two months of the general election, that would suggest they're more interested in trying to disrupt the Electoral Vote process than in actually serving as President.
    – supercat
    Nov 29, 2023 at 20:56
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    @BurnsBA: Many state legislatures take an attitude of "we'll worry about some implausible hypothetical if it happens", on the basis that any time considering the issue will be wasted if the event never occurs. If would seem implausible that a winner-apparent and state legislature could fail to agree on a slate of Electors unless at least one of the parties involved was acting in clear and obvious bad faith, so such an attitude would not seem unreasonable here.
    – supercat
    Nov 29, 2023 at 21:05
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    For what it is worth, this has never actually really happened, at least post-Civil War and before many of these states were admitted to the Union, so no one has first hand experience with it. If a write in candidate miraculously were elected to be a states' Presidential choice, I have little doubt that a court or Secretary of State could come up with a reasonable solution, even if there was no formal statute addressing the question in a state. As a common law country, the U.S. doesn't need every detail to be put down in statute books. (wrote this before reading the @supercat comment ).
    – ohwilleke
    Nov 29, 2023 at 23:15

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