Considering a write-in vote next Tuesday? If you write in the names Charles R. Zerilli and Ajamu Baraka for president and vice president, respectively — or any of 43 other duos who have registered with the Minnesota secretary of state — your vote will be counted. But if you were to write in, say, Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio — as Third District U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen recently said he would do instead of voting for his party’s nominee, Donald Trump — your vote will only count in terms of the personal satisfaction you derive from it. It won’t register anywhere or with anyone else.

A write-in vote is an option for any office on the ballot, said Ryan Furlong, spokesman for Secretary of State Steve Simon. The total number of write-in votes will be reported with the official tallies for named candidates. But for federal, state and county offices, the number of write-in votes for any specific candidate is reported only if that candidate registered before Nov. 1.

For municipal and school offices, no registration requirement exists. Specific write-in votes for those offices are tallied, Furlong said.

While we sympathize with voters who find it difficult to wholeheartedly support any of the candidates whose names appear on Tuesday’s ballot, we urge them not to exercise the write-in option. It’s a retreat from the responsibility Americans share to participate in using the human capital at hand to form their government.

As for Paulsen, who won the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s endorsement in his re-election bid: The most efficacious time for a four-term member of Congress to declare a leading presidential candidate of his own party unacceptable is early in the nominating process — not with a write-in vote on Election Day.