UNITY — Select Board Chair Penny Sampson has withdrawn her write-in candidacy for county treasurer after learning that, under state law, votes are not counted for “undeclared” write-in candidates.

The “Candidate’s Guide to Ballot Access” issued by the Secretary of State’s Office defines a write-in candidate, in part, as a person who “has filed a ‘Declaration of Write-in Candidacy’ no later than 60 days prior to the election, which is … September 9, 2022, for the General Election.”

Sampson learned last week what the guide does not say: that write-in votes are not counted for an “undeclared” county candidate, or one who has not filed the declaration form.

“I knew (the law) applied to state and federal, but I was unaware about the county level,” she said in an email to The Republican Journal. “I wasn’t the only one, as the Commissioners’ Office was unaware as well.”

Sampson said she had written to Melissa Packard, a Unity resident and former town clerk who now heads the state’s Election Division. In Packard’s reply Oct. 27, which Sampson forwarded to The Journal, Packard noted the Sept. 9 deadline for write-in declarations and wrote, “Therefore, any write-in votes cast for this race will be counted as blanks. We cannot consider you a write-in candidate at this time and any vote cast for you will not be counted.”

Packard went on to say, “After the election, there will be a vacancy in this office as obviously no one can be elected. Maine statute (Title 30-A, section 151) provides when there is a vacancy in the office of county treasurer, the governor may make an appointment to fill the vacancy.”

In her Unity town column this week, Sampson said she appreciates the support she received after her announcement “and will seek another avenue.”

The office of county treasurer has been vacant since Treasurer Peter Sheff resigned in May 2021.