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The name of Senator Bernie Sanders will appear on the California ballot on Election Day as an officially recognized write-in candidate for president, despite the fact that the senator is an ardent and active supporter of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Background

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) waged a long and sometimes bitter contest for the Democratic nomination for president through 2015 and much of 2016.

Clinton ultimately prevailed in the contest, securing 2,814 delegates, including 609 superdelegates, to Sanders’ 1,893 delegates. The number needed to capture the Democratic nomination is 2,383 delegates.

Sanders later officially conceded the race in a much-anticipated speech at the Democratic National Convention, in which he endorsed Clinton for president over Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Sanders has since served as an active campaigner for Clinton both in the media and on the stump, saying at a rally of over 5,000 people in North Carolina on Thursday that Clinton was the best choice in the race and that the choice between the two candidates should be taken seriously.

We are not going back to a bigoted society… We’re not going to allow Trump or anyone else to divide us up.

Write-in ballots

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Given that voter dissatisfaction with the two major-party candidates is at historic highs, it would be tempting for a voter to believe that they could simply write-in a candidate on their ballots whom they prefer. The truth, however, is more complicated.

Only 11 states allow voters to write in any candidate that they prefer. Thirty-two states, on the other hand, require prospective write-in options to have been filed and approved beforehand in order for them to count.

California is a good example of this phenomenon. It is a state, along with 10 others, plus the District of Columbia, where Bernie Sanders’ name will appear as an option underneath those of the major-party candidates.

For candidates to be included as official write-ins on the California ballot, according to the California Secretary of State’s Office, they must be certified by the state after having been supported by 55 “electors;” otherwise, names submitted to appear on the ballot — with popular past names including Mickey Mouse and Chuck Norris — are rejected.

The candidate’s inclusion on the ballot also does not require their consent.

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