Over 4,000 cast votes for ineligible candidates - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Over 4,000 cast votes for ineligible candidates

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More than 76,000 Hamilton County residents cast their ballots in Super Tuesday elections, but more than 4,000 of them voted for people who weren't even running in the race.

There were no write-in candidates who qualified in Tuesday's primary, but that didn't stop thousands of people from filling in the blank with names of ineligible candidates.

"We just do not have the time to count how many votes Mickey Mouse received for an election," said Kerry Steelman, Hamilton County Administrator of Elections.

Official write-in candidates must get 25 signatures at least 50 days before an election to qualify, but none qualified for any of Tuesday's political races.

If a write-in candidate is not qualified, then the Election Commission doesn't have to tally or keep record of all the write-in candidate's names.

"It's imperative for us to ensure that we have the results for all of the candidates who have qualified to be on the ballot," Steelman explained.

In the Presidential race, there were 134 write-in votes, nearly 2,700 write-in votes for Criminal Court Judge, and over 1,200 write-in votes for Assessor of Property.

To save time, the Election Commission focuses on votes for qualified candidates only.

"All those votes are counted, as opposed to the votes for write-in candidates that are not qualified candidates," Steelman said.

An outside company is brought in to audit votes from random precincts. Final certified election results are due to the state on the 21st of this month.

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