TALLAHASSEE — They are the candidates you don't see. They don't collect signatures or pay fees to run. They almost never raise or spend money. They don't attend campaign forums or knock on doors. Their names never appear on the ballot. And they always lose.
Yet, write-in candidates matter in Florida.
When they run, voters lose.
This year alone, more than 900,000 Floridians were stopped from casting a ballot in 15 competitive state House and Senate races because a write-in candidate signed up to run.
It's a loophole in Florida's quirky election system that can be exploited to prevent Democrats and independents from choosing a representative from among only Republicans, and vice versa.
"It's a sham," said Carl Domino, a Jupiter Republican.