Write-In Candidate Qualifying

No person elected on a write-in vote can be eligible for office unless they have filed and published notice of his or her intention of candidacy during the appropriate time period. As the term "write-in" implies, the names of qualified write-in candidates are not printed on the ballot, a write-in space is provided. In the event that no candidate in the election receives a majority of the total votes cast for an office, and the write-in candidate is one of the candidates receiving the two highest numbers of votes, then the name of the write-in candidate would appear on the runoff ballot. The official notice of intent form can be found here.

For county level partisan races on the 2016 ballot, a write-in candidate cannot file and publish notice of his or her intent before Friday, January 1, and no later than Tuesday, September 6. Write-in candidates for partisan races do not participate in the May 24, 2016 General Primary/Nonpartisan Election. 

For county level nonpartisan races, a write-in candidate must file and publish notice of intent no earlier than Friday, January 1, and no later than March 18. Nonpartisan races are decided in the General Primary/Nonpartisan Election which will be held on Tuesday, May 24. A runoff will be held on July 26 for any undecided races from the May 24 Election.

Notices should be published in the Eatonton Messenger, the official organ of Putnam County, and filed with the Putnam County Board of Elections and Registration. Write-in candidates must file a copy of the notice as published and a publisher’s affidavit with the Board of Elections and Registration within five days after the deadline for filing and publishing.

Individuals may only qualify as a write-in candidate for a general or special election. No write-in candidates may qualify for general or special primaries. No person shall be eligible as a write-in candidate in a special or general primary, a special or general primary runoff, or in a special or general election runoff. Additionally, no person shall be eligible as a write-in candidate in a general or special election if such person was a candidate for nomination or election to the same office in the immediately preceding primary.

Ethics Filings

Write-in candidates are subject to the same campaign disclosure reporting requirements under the Ethics in Government Act as all other candidates. The Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission (GGTCFC) is a great resource for education about what forms need to be filed when and with whom those forms should be filed.

The Putnam County Board of Elections and Registration is the local filing entity for county offices. The Board utilizes a program called EasyCampaignFinance that allows candidates and office holders to file their documents online. After a document is submitted to the filing officer, it is reviewed, either accepted or rejected, and either efaxed to the GGTCFC or sent back to the filer with notes on corrections that need to be made.

Candidates will need to file the following documents before they can begin making campaign expenditures or accepting campaign donations:

  • Declaration of Intention to Accept Campaign Contributions (FORM DOI)
  • Personal Financial Disclosure Statement (PFDS)
  • Campaign Contribution Disclosure Report (CCDR)

Each filing has a deadline and the late fees can be very high and compound quickly. Call the Board of Elections and Registration for more information on filing dates and access to the EasyCampaignFinance program. Candidates are strongly encouraged to utilize the candidate education resources on the GGTCFC website.