I just saw this one in the WaPo print edition: Bush May Be a Write-In On More Than One State Ballot.

First came the news that officials in Alabama may have to put President Bush on the ballot as a write-in candidate. It turns out Alabama isn’t the only state scrambling to figure out what it needs to do to ensure that the president’s name will appear on the state ballot next year.

The GOP’s unusually late nominating convention — it does not begin until Aug. 30 — is the problem. Bush is not scheduled to accept his party’s nomination until Sept. 2, 2004. That falls after the deadline for certifying presidential candidates not only in Alabama, but also in California, the District of Columbia and West Virginia. There are bills in the Alabama legislature to move its deadline from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5. But if, for some reason, they don’t pass, the president would be forced to run there as a write-in candidate.

In other states, along with the District, the situation is a bit more murky. The D.C. City Council will need to change its Sept. 1 deadline to accommodate the convention, said Alice Miller, executive director of the Board of Elections and Ethics. She declined to speculate on what might happen if that deadline isn’t changed. Cindy Smith, an elections official in West Virginia, can probably sympathize. Her state requires candidates to file by Aug. 31. Smith said she does not know of any effort to move that deadline — and is unsure of what might happen if the president misses it.

But the biggest question may be in California, where election officials plan to begin printing about 15 million ballots almost immediately after its Aug. 26 deadline — and begin mailing its absentee ballots Sept. 3. A spokeswoman for the secretary of state said she did not know of any effort to move the deadline or how the state might accommodate the Republicans. “It’s not clear at this point,” Terri Carbaugh said. “It certainly poses a dilemma.”

Several other states have already moved their deadlines. The Idaho legislature moved that state’s by five days for the president, according to information from the National Association of Secretaries of State. Indiana lawmakers have approved a similar change, which is awaiting the governor’s signature.


FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. MommaBear says:

    You mean to say NO-ONE at the RNC knew of this; now that is downright STUPID !!

  2. James Joyner says:

    I’m a bit baffled by this myself. Presumably, there is a workaround even in states with Democrat-controlled legislatures. Surely, the GOP can simply certify that Bush is the nominee before the convention if it comes to that. But I agree they should have anticipated this.