Thinking about writing in a candidate? Read this before you do

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Editor's note: This story has been updated. Write-in votes for President will be counted individually if a candidate has enough votes to change the outcome of the race.

Washington voters planning to write-in the name of a candidate for president that is not on the ballot may never see that vote individually counted.

However, that does not mean votes would be immediately dismissed.

Write-in votes are collected and would be individually counted if there are enough write-in votes are cast to potentially change the outcome of the race, according to the Secretary of State's Office.

If someone casts a vote for Bernie Sanders or John Kasich, for example, the vote would be collected and tabulated. Those votes would be counted individually if the candidate has enough votes to change the outcome of the race.

Write-in votes are addressed in section 29a.24.311 of the Revised Code of Washington. Follow this link to read that section.

Here’s the process to register as a candidate in Washington state races:

In Washington state, any person who desires to be a write-in candidate for state races and have his or her votes counted at a primary or general election must file a declaration of candidacy with the Washington secretary of state no later than 18 days before a primary or general election.

>> Related: Can a write-in candidate win the 2016 presidential election?

A declaration of candidacy for a write-in candidate must be accompanied by a filing fee or a filing fee petition with the required signatures.

State lawmakers have developed these ballot access procedures in an effort to prevent non-serious candidates from appearing on the ballot.

Here’s the process for when votes are cast for official write-in candidates

Every voter has the right to write in a candidate instead of voting for one printed on the ballot. According to the Washington Secretary of State's website, these votes are tabulated and reported cumulatively in one bucket as write-in votes.

>> Related: Trump v Clinton: 9 states that will decide the election

Write-in votes for individual candidates are only hand tallied if the total number of write-in votes may be enough to make a difference in the outcome of the race.

Here is Washington state's official list of presidential write-in candidates.

What’s the trend around write-ins?

Some voters are vowing to stick with Bernie Sanders as their candidate, despite the Vermont senator’s plea to voters to support Clinton.

The Washington Post reports that nationwide write-in votes have increased more than fivefold since 1984.

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Online searches for the term "write-in" candidate set a record last week (a 2,800 percent increase over a record high for the search term set in 2004). According to Google Trends, the greatest number of searches came in states that are traditionally Republican and Democratic strongholds, not, as you may think, from swing states.

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