Friday, November 7, 2014

Write-in votes: Having fun or making a statement; More than 2,000 cast

Olaf the Snowman for governor? What about Peppa Pig, Space Ghost or Howdy Doody?

Perhaps Cardinal Raymond Burke?

Or . . .  the Time Master. Heh.

Maybe UT’s Butch Jones or former coaches Pat Summitt or Bruce Pearl float your boat. (OK, that last one probably not so much.)

Those were just a handful of the 2,077 unique names that Knox County voters took the time to write in as candidates on Tuesday’s ballot, according to a 55-page list that election officials provided to WBIR 10News.

The List: 55 Pages of Write-in Candidates RIGHT SMACK HERE

Some were serious (we think), and others were obviously a joke (we hope). A few voters delved into the history books, digging up old presidents. Others touched on entertainment, picking cartoon characters and rock stars.

And then, as always, there were those names just too lewd, crude and rude for online news and television broadcast.

“The first thing that’s important to note is that this shows that we record every vote out there – no matter who you write in or what you write in,” said Cliff Rodgers, administrator of Elections for Knox County.

Sadly – or not so sadly – almost all of the write-in votes counted, since none were certified as official write-in candidates.

However, the Knox County Election Commission will count write-in votes for Bill Haslam in the governor race - not that he needed them - since he was an official candidate on the ballot.

The Republican governor trounced his Democratic Opponent Charlie Brown, who has no relation to the Peanuts character (although Snoopy did get a write-in vote).

“Some people will write in something ridiculous that they don’t think anyone else will do, so that when we send them the list they want to see if it’s recorded, and that everything is OK with the system,” Rodgers said. “You’ll see a bunch that no one is going to repeat. It’s not ‘Mickey Mouse,’ or ‘Donald Duck’ or ‘Chuck Norris.’ It’s not someone the average person would think of.”

Hmmm. Interesting, because there were no votes cast this time around for Chuck Norris.

And that’s not good, particularly if Chuck finds out. As everyone should know there’s a lot of facts out there about America’s favorite movie star/karate man. Like how when “Chuck Norris stares at the sun . . . it blinks!”

Now for some more write-in fun.

Folks apparently weren’t too happy with incumbent Republican Lamar Alexander or any of his challengers (Lamar won a third term anyway!), so they felt others were more appropriate.

That meant: Alfred E. Newman, Any But Lamar, Bozo the Clown, Disgruntled Conservative, Morgan Freeman, Peyton Manning, Pope Benedict Six, Rawhide Rex, Uncle Sam and Rage Against The Machine!

Speaking of Rage – music was well represented in this election cycle.

Voters cast ballots for rockers Jack White and David Lee Roth; legendary punks Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig; rappers Public Enemy and Kanye West; and country stars Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels and Willie Nelson.

Also, some gal named Beyonce got a vote or two.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Ted Nugent’s name. Especially since he hasn’t had a hit in decades. He made the list, though.

Zombi-buster Rick Grimes was on it, too, and so was “Your Mom” and “My Dog.”

Speaking of animals . . . . There was: the Easter Bunny, Miss Piggy, Felix the Cat, Old Yellow Dog, Big Bird, Chester Cheetah, official mascot for Cheetos brand snacks (yes, we had to Google that one), Walter the Bulldog, Three Leg Dog and Big Nose Alligator.

And, we can’t forget: Dog Catcher!

Some folks were feeling spiritual, casting votes for God, Jesus, Jesus Christ and the Dali Lama.

Cthulhu was there, too, as was Odin and Loki.

The Force was with Luke Skywalker (hey, he’s got a movie coming out in December 2015), and his father, Darth Vader.

Star Wars villain Boba Fett also showed up, but his arch enemy and the true hero of the original Star Wars trilogy, Han Solo, did not. Lame!

A number of names were peppered multiple times throughout the 55 pages of various races, including Howard Stern, Madeline Rogero, Tim Burchett, Big Foot, James T. Kirk, and Poleycat Valentine (huh????).

And, we can’t forget: No vote, none, not Bill, Not Huffman, Any But Lamar, anybody, any on (sic) else, anyone else, and “go away.”

Homer Simpson, Bart Simpson and their neighbor, Ned Flanders were accounted for.

Former presidents George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Bill Clinton (as well as wife Hillary) appeared.

And, President Obama popped up, too. Quite a few times in fact, and in all different ways. There was: Barack Obama; Obama; Obamas Legacy; and The Barack Obama Agenda.

Of course, no write-in list is complete until you mention votes cast for Sponge Bob; rivals/friends Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny; or Mickey Mouse and his pals Donald Duck and Goofy.
Paging Dr. Jones! Yes, you guessed it – Indiana Jones made the list. Someone wants Harrison Ford’s fictional archeologist to represent the 18th District in the state House. That said others wanted Johnny Majors, Kermit the Frog, Little Sebastion (the horse on the TV show “Parks and Rec”), and Megatron to hold that seat, too.

Oh year, Jagger Lance Oakland also nabbed a vote in that race. Whoever or whatever Jagger is.

DC Comics characters beat out Marvel this election as Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, face-crunching, bone-smashing Dark Knight vigilante Batman and “Batnam” garnered multiple votes. In fact, usual fan favorites Spider-Man and Wolverine didn’t even get a one.

WBIR was well represented, too. Some folks kindly wrote in anchor John Becker’s name a few times (once even for governor!).

Superstar Mike Donila and Sideshow Steve Butera got votes as did former WBIR reporter John Henry. 10News photographer Jim Martin claims that the vote for “Gandalf the Grey” was really for him.

Reporters from the local paper didn’t get any votes, but its publisher did. Someone felt it necessary to cast “Birmingham Killed Metros” as a candidate, an obvious reference to Patrick Birmingham’s recent decision to can the widely popular weekly alternative, Metro Pulse.

In the 7th District state Senate race Stacey Campfield (who was thumped in the Republican primary by Richard Briggs) garnered what might be the most votes of any write-in pick in a single race: 28.
(Not that everyone spelled his name correctly, but still. We also thought about texting him for a comment, but, well . . . .)

The next local election – it’s a city only contest – isn’t until September 2015.

Expect the fun to continue then.

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