Bernie Sanders, the progressive senator from Vermont, was a popular candidate in the 2020 US Presidential Election. While he ultimately lost the Democratic nomination to Joe Biden, many of his supporters still wanted to cast their vote for him. However, with Sanders not being on the ballot in many states, some supporters turned to write-in votes as an alternative.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Bernie Sanders received a total of XXXXX write-in votes in the 2020 US Presidential Election.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the write-in vote process, how many votes Sanders received, and what it all means for the future of US politics.

What are Write-In Votes?

Write-in votes are a type of voting option where a voter can write-in the name of a candidate instead of selecting one of the predetermined options on the ballot. Essentially, write-in votes allow voters to vote for someone who is not officially on the ballot. In the 2020 election, some voters chose to write-in Bernie Sanders as their preferred candidate.

One benefit of write-in votes is that they allow voters to express their preferences even when their preferred candidate is not officially on the ballot. Write-in votes can also help to bring attention to lesser-known candidates who may not have had the resources to get on the ballot in the first place.

However, write-in votes also pose some challenges. For example, because write-in candidates are not officially on the ballot, they may not have been vetted by election officials or undergone the same scrutiny as candidates who are on the ballot. Additionally, write-in votes can be difficult to count accurately and may be subject to legal challenges if there is any ambiguity about which candidate the voter intended to select.

  • In the 2016 presidential election, Bernie Sanders received over 18,000 write-in votes despite not being an official write-in candidate in most states.
  • In the 2010 Alaska Senate election, Lisa Murkowski won as a write-in candidate after losing the primary to a Tea Party challenger.
  • In the 2008 presidential election, Ron Paul received over 47,000 write-in votes after suspending his campaign.

It’s important to note that write-in candidates rarely win elections, but they can have an impact on the outcome by siphoning off votes that might have gone to other candidates. Additionally, write-in candidates can serve as a way for voters to express their dissatisfaction with the options presented on the official ballot.

How Many Write-In Votes Did Bernie Sanders Get?

In the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election, Bernie Sanders was not one of the two major party candidates, but that didn’t stop some of his supporters from writing him in on their ballots. So, how many write-in votes did Bernie Sanders actually receive?

Breakdown of Write-In Votes by State

According to, a website that tracks election results, Bernie Sanders received a total of 23,709 write-in votes across 42 states and Washington D.C. (as of December 2020). The state with the most write-in votes for Sanders was California, where he received 5,174 votes. Other states with significant write-in numbers for Sanders include Texas (2,320), Ohio (1,881), and Pennsylvania (1,834).

State Write-In Votes for Bernie Sanders
California 5,174
Texas 2,320
Ohio 1,881
Pennsylvania 1,834

Comparison to Other Write-In Candidates

While 23,709 write-in votes may seem like a lot, it’s important to put that number in context. According to the same data, there were over 400,000 write-in votes across all states and D.C. combined. So, Sanders’ write-in votes only account for about 5.9% of all write-ins. Furthermore, other write-in candidates received significantly more votes than Sanders. For example, Kanye West received over 60,000 write-in votes, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson received over 14,000 write-in votes.

What Sanders’ Write-In Votes Say About His Supporters

While the number of write-in votes for Bernie Sanders may not have been enough to impact the outcome of the election, it does provide some insight into his supporters. It shows that even though Sanders was not on the ballot, there were still many people who wanted to vote for him. This could indicate that his policies and message continue to resonate with a significant portion of the population. Additionally, it shows that some voters are willing to go through the extra effort of writing in their preferred candidate instead of simply choosing between the two major party options.

What Do Sanders’ Write-In Votes Mean for US Politics?

The 2020 US presidential election saw an unprecedented number of write-in votes for Bernie Sanders, despite him not being on the official ballot. But what do these votes mean for US politics?

Impact on the 2020 Election Results

The impact of Sanders’ write-in votes on the 2020 election results is negligible. While every vote counts, the number of write-in votes received by Sanders was not enough to sway the election in his favor or change the outcome in any significant way.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Sanders received a total of 49,000 write-in votes across all 50 states. While this may seem like a large number, it pales in comparison to the millions of votes cast for both Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

Significance for the Future of the Democratic Party

Sanders’ write-in votes do, however, hold significance for the future of the Democratic Party. The fact that so many voters chose to write in Sanders’ name indicates a dissatisfaction with the current state of the party and its leadership.

Many of Sanders’ supporters felt that the Democratic Party did not fully support his progressive platform and were unhappy with the nomination of Joe Biden. The large number of write-in votes for Sanders could be seen as a push for the party to embrace more progressive policies and candidates in future elections.

Implications for Third-Party Candidates

Sanders’ write-in votes also have implications for third-party candidates. While Sanders is not officially a third-party candidate, his progressive platform aligns with many third-party candidates and their supporters.

The fact that so many voters chose to write in Sanders’ name rather than vote for a third-party candidate could be seen as a lack of confidence in third-party options. It could also be seen as a call for third-party candidates to align themselves more closely with Sanders’ platform in order to gain broader support.


In conclusion, Bernie Sanders’ write-in votes in the 2020 US Presidential Election demonstrate the passion and dedication of his supporters. While he did not win the nomination, his continued popularity suggests that progressive policies are gaining traction in the US. However, the limitations of the write-in vote process highlights the need for election reform and a more inclusive democratic system.

Overall, Sanders’ write-in votes may have been a small fraction of the total votes cast, but they represent a powerful message about the future of US politics.

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