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High Court Refuses to Hear Write-In Case

Published on November 29, 2004, by in General.

On November 29, the US Supreme Court refused to hear the Terry Baum case, Baum v Superior Court, no. 04-416. The issue is whether write-ins should count if the voter didn’t check the box next to the name that the voter had just written in. The case originated in the Green Party congressional primary in March, 2004, in San Francisco.

The court’s refusal to hear the case was discouraging for Donna Frye, who probably received more votes than any other candidate on November 2, 2004, for Mayor of San Diego. Frye was credited with 155,454 write-in votes. Incumbent Mayor Dick Murphy received 157,938 votes, and the other candidate whose name was printed on the ballot, Ron Roberts, got 141,874.

However, there were at least 4,500 write-in votes in the San Diego Mayoral election which were never counted, because the voter didn’t check the box next to the name written in. Probably at least 95% of them were for Donna Frye, so if the votes had been counted, Frye probably would have won.

The League of Women Voters had sued to require that all San Diego write-ins be counted, by a California Superior Court Judge had ruled against the League on November 22. League of Women Voters v McPherson, no. 838890. Donna Frye, as a real party in interest in that lawsuit, is free to appeal if she wishes. She has not formally announced whether she will appeal.

5 Responses

  1. Michael Morrison

    So often, disputed ballots are judged by the voter’s apparent intent. Apparently, though, if the voter’s intent doesn’t fit in with some judicial activist’s opinion, the ballot doesn’t get counted.

  2. Michael Morrison

    So often, disputed ballots are judged by the voter’s apparent intent. Apparently, though, if the voter’s intent doesn’t fit in with some judicial activist’s opinion, the ballot doesn’t get counted.

  3. Demorep

    There are LEGAL votes and then there are ILLEGAL votes. See Bush v. Gore 531 U.S. 98 (2000).

    Folks or machines counting votes do NOT have to engage in a mind reading game.

  4. Michael Morrison

    Pretty please, Demorep, would you explain what you mean? Thank you.

  5. Fred

    Perhaps the higher courts will be more apt to hear a case that will actually effect the results of a general election than a third-party primary.

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