Democratic leaders including Bernie Sanders devoted speech after speech during last week's Democratic National Convention to urge his voters to fall in line and back Hillary Clinton. But for many Bernie bros, that just isn't an option. Still gunning for a political revolution, they plan to write in his name on ballots across the nation in November.
The Bernie or bust movement has been brewing for months. A MoveOn.org petition began encouraging Sanders' voters to write in his name in a general election contest last year, long before the first primary vote was cast. "This is a rigged system. As Senator Sanders has said, we need a political revolution. The only way for this to be a success is for a contingency plan. We as supporters, will not accept a Carte Blanche nomination of Hillary Clinton, a Wall Street supported, corporate Democrat," the petition states.
On Reddit, Sanders supporters on his reddit group have also debated whether to write in his name in November. "It depends on the state, but either way, it would be a waste of a vote. Any vote that doesn't go to the Democratic nominee essentially goes to the Republican nominee," one user wrote. Another person replied, "I mean, some states are going to go red anyway. Might as well waste your vote if it doesn't count anyway. Thanks, Electoral College!"
During the DNC in Philadelphia last week, many Sanders supporters told reporters they simply couldn't bring themselves to vote for Clinton even after Sanders told them to do just that.
"We're tired of being put in a corner," Gail Gouveia, from Massachusetts, told Mother Jones. "I was surprised the way people caved in and said they were going to vote for Hillary."
Others have used hashtags like NeverClinton and NeverHillary to encourage followers to stay local to Sanders. Petitions like www.wontvotehillary.com, has drawn more than 56,500 signatures so far.
But protest voters should be aware their votes for Sanders won't go far because many states don't count write-in candidates.
"A candidate still has to register with the state board of elections before they can actually be considered a write-in candidate. And then they actually have to run a campaign for that,” Roger Hartley, dean of the College of Public Affairs at the University of Baltimore, told local reporters.
In 2004, when voters couldn't decide between Democrat John Kerry and Republican President George W. Bush, Bloomberg put it this way: "Regardless of which state you live in, voting for a write-in contender is much more complicated than scribbling whatever name you please on the dotted line at the bottom of the ballot. Thirty-five states require that a write-in candidate must submit some form of affidavit and, sometimes, a filing fee at least one month before the election... And five states -- Hawaii, Nevada, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina -- don't allow any Presidential write-ins, and never have."