Rules in TN require write-in candidates to register - WSMV Channel 4

Rules in TN require write-in candidates to register

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Tennessee's Republican governor has taken a bold stand, saying he wants to write in Mike Pence rather than vote for Donald Trump, but would that vote be possible?

Many Republicans are talking about elevating Pence to the top of the ticket or coming up with a "write-in" option.

The problem is that here in Tennessee, a write-in vote for Pence essentially amounts to not voting at all.

The rules in Tennessee require all candidates for president, including write-ins, to register at least 50 days before the election in order to appear on the ballot.

That deadline was weeks ago, so Pence's name is not an option right now.

So even if the governor himself chooses Pence, it would be the same as if he didn't vote at all.

Here are the names that did qualify as write-ins:

  • Darrell L. Castle
  • Cherunda Fox
  • Tom Hoefling
  • Kyle Kenley Kopitke
  • Laurence Kotlikoff
  • David Limbaugh
  • Evan McMullin
  • Marshall Schoenke

Channel 4 asked Gov. Bill Haslam whether he knew about the write-in rules before making his statement. Haslam has not responded.

Kent Syler, Channel 4's political analyst, says the governor could be making a stand.

"With an approval rating in the mid-60s, Gov. Bill Haslam is one of the most popular elected officials in Tennessee. He understands that even if his vote isn't counted, his refusal to back Donald Trump and plan to write in another Republican candidate is an example of independence and political protest," Syler said.

The write-in route sounds complicated, but it's not impossible for a write-in candidate to win. It happened right here in Middle Tennessee under extraordinary circumstances in the late 90s.

Byron "Low Tax" Looper was running against Tennessee Sen. Tommy Burks. Looper was accused of killing Burks just weeks before the vote and was eventually convicted of the murder.

They were the only two names on the ballot, and with the election less than a month away, it was too late to add another name.

Burks' wife, Charlotte, registered as a write-in candidate. She won and went on to serve several terms.

Looper died in prison from heart conditions in 2013 while serving a life sentence.

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