Some Bernie Sanders supporters are so strongly for him that they say that if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, they will write in the the Vermont senator’s name on Nov. 8.
Facebook pages are being created to plead with Sanders supporters to write the senator’s name on their ballot. People are circulating petitions to force the Bernie backing to swear they will write him in.
Fred Woodhams is a spokesman for the Michigan Secretary of State, and he says writing-in a candidate in any election is unlikely to work.
“Yes, in theory, that could happen if the candidates receive the most popular votes in the election,” Woodhams said. “It is uncommon that write-in candidates win local elections, let alone statewide races.”
Taylor Simmons, 24, is a Sanders advocate who actively pursues young voters, and aims to educate them on the candidate to gain more supporters. Simmons however says that writing-in Sanders could create an advantage for a Republican candidate, in which Simmons is unwaveringly against.
“If I did what I felt was right, I would vote for Jill Stein in the Green Party, because I couldn’t stand looking back and knowing that I gave a vote to Clinton,” Simmons said. “But, in reality, I would have to do what I need to do to prevent having a Republican president, and might have to vote for Clinton only for defensive purposes.”
Renee Zientek is a primary coordinator of a Michigan State group called YouVote. This association focuses on encouraging young people to register, participate and educate themselves on voting. Zientek says that in the event of a Clinton nomination, Sanders’ supporters could actually hurt the Democratic cause if they write him in.
“While writing in a candidate is the right of voters, it may have the opposite of the intended impact on the actual election,” Zientek said. “It may come down to a voter choosing what is best for the individual voter, or choosing what is best for the collective.”
Zientek says it is unprecedented for a write-in candidate to even be in the realm of possibility. If Sanders can go viral, acquiring online support, then a write-in candidate could be a threat, Zientek says.
“I think we’re in a different time,” Zientek said. “It’s so exciting to see modern elections happen.”
Another YouVote coordinator, John Dowell, says voters might be making a mistake by writing in Bernie Sanders. Dowell says choosing the alternative candidate might not be the best idea, but far better than seeing a Republican White House.
“I have two first thoughts. The first is: You can write-in anybody you want, just frickin’ vote,” Dowell said. “My second thought as a citizen with a Bernie shirt and a Bernie yard sign is: If you can’t get the fish, have the chicken.”