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Write-In Candidates

Any person trying to receive a party nomination or be elected by write-in ballot must complete a notice to the county election commission of each county of the district requesting that his or her ballots be counted no later than 50 days before the primary or 50 days before a general election. T.C.A. §§ 2-7-133 and 2-8-113. The county election commission is required to promptly notify the state coordinator of elections and the registry of election finance as well as other candidates participating in the affected primary or election of the write-in notice. A write-in candidate will only have votes counted in counties where the notice was completed and timely filed. Write-in candidates for the offices of governor, United States Senator, and members of the United States House of Representatives are required to file their notice with the state coordinator of elections.  In a primary election, a write-in candidate for that office must receive a vote equal to at least 5 percent of the total number of registered voters of the district, and receive more votes than any other candidate, to receive the party's nomination. T.C.A. § 2-8-113. Furthermore, a write-in candidate for county or municipal office must receive a minimum of 25 votes in the primary before being placed on the ballot for the general election, a requirement that cannot be modified by private act or charter. T.C.A. §  2-5-219.  In an election where voting machines are used, a voter may write-in a name not listed on the ballot if the voter requests a paper ballot from the ballot judge before operating a voting machine.  After receiving a paper ballot, a voter may not enter a voting machine. T.C.A. § 2-7-117.

A candidate defeated in a primary election shall not complete a notice requesting write-in ballots to be counted in the general election, and any write-in votes cast for the candidate in the general election must not be counted. T.C.A. § 2-7-133.