Warren elections to include several write-in candidates

By: Gena Johnson | Warren Weekly | Published October 6, 2023


WARREN — Being a write-in candidate is another path to potential election without being on the ballot or winning the primary.

A write-in candidate is a person who seeks nomination to office after the official filing deadline for that office has passed. A write-in candidate’s name will not appear on the ballot. However, once a declaration of intent is filed, a candidate may accumulate valid write-in votes, according to the Warren city clerk’s office.


Become a write-in candidate
In order to become a valid write-in candidate, an individual must file a declaration of intent with the appropriate filling official by 4 p.m. on the second Friday preceding the election. This year, that date is Oct. 27 for the Nov. 7 general election.

In the event a candidate appearing on the ballot dies or is disqualified on or after the Wednesday directly preceding the election, the declaration of intent is waived. Under these circumstances, all write-in votes cast will be counted, according to the clerk’s office.

Barring the death of a candidate on the ballot, if a voter wants to write-in someone’s name that is not a valid or declared write-in candidate or put a candidate’s name under an office for which they are not running, that vote will not be counted.

“Write-in votes are only recorded for declared write-in candidates and must be recorded by the voter under the proper office and political party, if applicable, as indicated on the Declaration of Intent submitted by the candidate. If the name of a write-in candidate is recorded by the voter under an office or political party that differs from the office and/or political party listed on the Declaration of Intent, the write-in vote is not recorded,” the clerk’s office stated in a written explanation.


Voting for a write-in candidate
To vote for a person whose name is not printed on the ballot, voters must write the name of that person in the blank space provided and darken the voting target box. They should not cast a write-in vote for a person whose name is already printed on the ballot for that office.

According to the clerk’s office, a write-in candidate is elected or nominated if they receive more votes than any other candidate seeking the office. A minimum number of votes is not required.

Recording write-in votes

According to a statement from the clerk’s office, “Election inspectors must record all write-in votes exactly as cast. The record should reflect the candidate’s name with any name variations or misspellings preserved; the office; and the political party (if a partisan primary).”

Once the polls are closed, the write-in votes are tallied. All valid write-in votes are recorded exactly as they were cast. Election inspectors completing this process are creating a record for the board of canvassers to use when certifying votes for official write-in candidates, according to the clerk’s office.


The write-ins
At press time Oct. 6, there were five Warren write-in candidates, according to the clerk’s office. Michelle Nard filed as a declared write-in candidate for mayor. There were four write-in candidates for Warren City Council: Jocelyn Howard, running at-large; Mo Islam, in District 1; and Randy Hall and Eddie Kabacinski, in District 5.

Nard ran for mayor and came in fourth in the Aug. 8 primary election.

“Residents were not pleased with the two choices they had (for mayor). They were thinking about not voting. I encouraged them to vote. They said, ‘Is it possible you could do a write-in, so we can have a better choice?’” said Nard. “I found out from the clerk’s office I could. I thought about it, prayed about it and did it, just to give people a second chance to write-in the right person.”

Islam’s campaign manager, Ron Papandrea, explained Islam’s write-in candidacy.

“He’s got a shot.  It’s hard to win as a write-in candidate but he’s got a shot of coming in first in the general election,” Papandrea said.

“He did very well in the primary. All kinds of people voted for him in the primary, not just Bangladeshi. But there were two other Bangladeshis (on the ballot) and they split the Bangladeshi vote. If he had been the only Bangladeshi candidate, he would have won the primary by far.” Papandrea said.

Howard came in fifth in the at-large Warren City Council primary where the top four vote-getters moved on to the November election. It was 262 votes that separated Howard from the fourth-place finisher.

“I have heard from so many residents, ‘You have to keep going,’” Howard said. “We can’t be the city of the past.”

“If you look at Warren from four years ago until now, do you see anything that has changed?” Howard asked. “If you don’t see changes in development and progress, you have to vote differently.”

Hall and Kabacinski were unavailable for comment at press time.