A sample ballot in Lewiston lists the two candidates for mayor and then a write-in option. There are four declared write-in candidates in Lewiston and Auburn this year.

LEWISTON — For the municipal election Tuesday at least one local race could end with a winner who doesn’t even appear on the ballot.

In Auburn, no one filed nomination papers to run for the Ward 1 School Committee seat before the August deadline, but Clarisa Perez-Armendariz registered as a write-in candidate for the seat. As long as she receives 25 or more valid write-in votes, she’ll be elected.

The same thing happened in 2017, when no one appeared on the Ward 4 ballot, and Jenna Scrivner won the seat with 34 write-in votes. In Lewiston, 50 or more valid votes are required for write-ins seeking City Council or School Committee seats in specific wards.

There are four declared write-in candidates for local seats in Lewiston and Auburn this year, so the Sun Journal broke down how it works.

FILL IN THE OVAL, WRITE THE NAME

At the most basic level, the ballots in Lewiston and Auburn both list instructions to voters at the top of the ballot. To vote for a write-in candidate, voters are instructed to fill in the oval to the left of the write-in space and write in the person’s name.

Due to campaign finance laws followed by both cities, Lewiston and Auburn require that write-in candidates register with the clerk’s offices, which also ensures that election personnel know who may appear on write-in ballots.

According to Lewiston City Clerk Kathy Montejo, a vote for a write-in candidate will be counted as long as it closely matches the name of the person running.

“As long as the voter fills in the oval on the write-in line for the voting machine to count their ballot, we can count the vote for the declared write-in even if the name is misspelled or only the first or last name is listed,” she said. “We are required to look to determine voter intent.”

For instance, she said, Felicia Hinkley is running as a write-in candidate for Lewiston School Committee. Election workers will count the vote if either Hinkley’s first or last name appears, or if the last name is spelled incorrectly, “but their intent is clear.”

A sample ballot for Auburn’s Ward 1 shows only a write-in option.

But, she said, for instance, “We would not count votes for Bob Smith and the like because that is not a variation that is even close to the name of any declared candidate.”

Montejo said if the name of the declared candidate is abbreviated, misspelled or incomplete, “provided it is still possible to identify the candidate as the one who is the declared write-in for that office, we will count it.”

In Auburn, there are also two declared write-in candidates for the Ward 5 City Council seat, where incumbent Leroy Walker is the lone candidate on the ballot. Both Kathy Shaw and Joseph DeMotta announced write-in campaigns after Walker was embroiled in controversy over statements he made over the renaming of a bridge in honor of former Mayor John Jenkins.

Click here to see a sample ballot in Lewiston, or here for a sample ballot in Auburn.

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