Did you know that in order for your write-in vote to be tallied, you need to choose a candidate who has registered as a write-in candidate and spell that person’s name correctly?

That’s one piece of information Brown County Clerk Brenda Woods and other local election officials shared  this afternoon at a public test of voting machines.

About 15 people, including some candidates, showed up to practice-vote on the touch-screen machines and to see for themselves that the machines are working properly. It was the largest crowd at any public voting machine test in recent memory, election officials said.

All Brown County voters, except those who vote absentee by mail, will use touch-screen machines this year.

On the screen, a voter can check “write-in” in a race and type in a name. However, if your write-in choice has not filed paperwork to become an official write-in candidate, the vote in that race will not be tabulated, Woods said.

So, you can vote for Batman for president if you’d like, but if Batman didn’t register as a write in — which he didn’t, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s list — he won’t get a vote.

Even if Batman did register as a write-in candidate, if you misspelled his name, he wouldn’t get credit for that vote either.

Election officials will not provide lists of properly filed write-in candidates at the polls, Woods said.

The list is posted on the Indiana Secretary of State’s website and linked below:

For Brown County voters, write-ins are options in the races for President of the United States, Vice President of the United States, U.S. senator, governor and lieutenant governor.

Other information election officials shared at the voting machine test:

  • Voters will be reminded on the ballot in several places and on a sheet posted in the voting booth that if they vote straight-party, they will not be casting votes for any at-large races, like county council, or school board, which is a nonpartisan race. Straight-party voters will need to make their vote selections individually in those races. On the vote summary that will show on the screen after a person has voted, the races for which no vote has been cast will show up in red, and voters will be able to go back and make selections in those races if they did intend to vote in them.
  • Voters who cast a paper ballot absentee by mail will need to make sure that they do not over-vote on any race — vote for more people than there are available seats to win. Those ballots will be read by a machine that will pick up those errors and kick out the entire ballot. Election staff will not contact voters who cast a ballot by mail to ask them if they intended to over-vote (to keep a promise they made to more than one candidate to vote for them, for instance) if they did so mistakenly.

If you’re curious about proper procedures at the polls, the Indiana Secretary of State’s office has published a Voter’s Bill of Rights:

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Sara Clifford has been raising a family in Brown County since 2005 and leading the Brown County Democrat since late 2009. In addition to editor, she is the beat reporter for town government and writes columns, features and general news stories.