DURHAM — Election Day is just about a week away, and many voters are still undecided as to who they want in office. However, North Carolina residents may not have as many choices as they think.
For example, if a North Carolina resident chooses to vote for Ralph Nader, the vote will not count at all. Nader is not on the ballot and is not a qualified write-in candidate.
"According to North Carolina law, in order to qualify as a write-in candidate for the president's race, the candidate must submit the proper documents and signatures to qualify," says Mike Ashe, Director of the Durham Board of Elections.
Even though Nader did not meet the August 9 deadline for write-in candidates, Green Party supporters do not think their votes should just be thrown away. Others think the process works.
"If having his name was that important, then they should have gone to any lengths to make sure his name was on the ballot," says voter Keturah McCall.
"I guess it's a decision each person will have to make as to whether they will, in effect, be wasting their vote," says voter Rusty Washam.
Each ballot is electronically scanned, so even if you did decide to write in a name, the computer will not be able to read it.
"This is the law, and this is what we have to do," Ashe says. "We have no options there."
On the 2000 ballot, there are two places for write-in candidates. One is the bipartisan race for the Soil and Conservation Director. The other is for the presidential race.
The only "qualified" write-in candidate for that election is David McReynolds of the Socialist Party.