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AGO 1950 No. 373 - October 20, 1950
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


An incumbent judge may run as a "write‑in" candidate for the same position in another department so long as his name will not appear on the ballot twice.

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                                                                October 20, 1950

Honorable Charles O. Carroll
Prosecuting Attorney for King County
County-City Building
Seattle 4, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 373

Attention:  !ttMr. K. G. Smiles
            Chief Civil Deputy

Dear Sir:

            In your letter of October 17, 1950, you requested our opinion on the question whether an incumbent judge of the superior court in one department may run as a "write‑in" candidate for the position of judge in another department.

            Our conclusion is as follows:

            An incumbent judge may run as a "write‑in" candidate for the same position in another department so long as his name will not appear on the ballot twice.


            The above conclusion was reached in an earlier opinion of this office to the Honorable Ernest N. Hutchinson, secretary of state, dated December 23, 1937.   [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] In that opinion the first question was whether a candidate who has been defeated in the primaries can run as a sticker candidate in the general election.

            In answer to this question we said:

            "The law, section 174, General Election Laws, (Rem. Rev. Stat., section 5272), provides:

            "'* * * Nothing in this chapter contained shall prevent any voter from writing or pasting on his ballot the names of any person for whom he desires to vote for any office, and such vote shall be counted, the same as if printed upon the ballot and marked by the voter, and any voter may take with him into the polling place * * *'

            "The only limitation upon this provision that we are able to find is contained in the following provision of section 176, General Election Laws, Rem. Rev. Stat., section 5274, with respect to the matters about which you inquire:

            "'No candidate's name shall appear more than once upon the ballot:  Provided, That any candidate who has been nominated by two or more political parties may, upon a written notice filed with the clerk of the board of county commissioners at least twenty days before the election is to be held, designate the political party under whose title he desires to have his name placed.'  (Sub‑division 6.)

            "Section 195, General Election Laws (Rem. Rev. Stat., sec. 5294) provides:

            "'In the canvass of the votes, any ballot or parts of a ballot from which it is impossible to determine the elector's choice shall be void and shall not be  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] counted:  Provided, That when a ballot is sufficiently plain to gather therefrom a part of the voter's intention, it shall be the duty of the judges of election to count such part.'

            "We are of the opinion, therefore, that the first question should be answered in the affirmative.  The voter may vote for any person who is eligible to hold the office, and the vote should be counted."

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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