In an election where there are uncontested positions, does a person win if a few people write in his or her name?

In an election where there are uncontested positions, does a person win if a few people write in his or her name?

For example, in a small town or district with no one running on the ballot and an otherwise qualified voter receives 10 write-ins and gains the highest number of votes, is that person elected? Is Mickey Mouse the No. 1 vote getter?

— Joe S., Medford

Jackson County Clerk Kathy Beckett says the usual cast of Disney characters have indeed polled well over the years.

Everyone from Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to Goofy has staked a claim for water commissioner or city council over the years.

In general, races without entrants on the ballots produce tight finishes, even ties.

"You do a recount, so to speak, to make sure it is a tie then the district or the county clerk gets to call the shots," says Beckett. "Usually when that happens, we flip a coin or pull out a deck of cards and high card wins. There are a number of ways that can happen."

Beckett says she likes to use straws with a happy face or sad face. Seriously.

"If they get the happy face," she says, "they win."

Sometimes write-in "candidates" aren't eligible for special districts where they get the most votes.

"If they were tied and they weren't eligible, then we turn the other (legitimate) name over to the district and they're the winner."

Another frequent vote getter "None of the Above" picks up more votes than some, but never wins.

"That's a sad one," she says. "It's really a wasted vote, because 'None of the Above' can't win in Oregon."