TOP STORY OF THE DAY Brought to you by WICU: Casting write-in votes sometimes serious, sometimes a joke

Thursday, November 19, 2020
FILE IMAGE - Harry Potter

Getting out to vote was essential to many people this year. Voters took to social media to display their "I voted" stickers in selfies and urge others to do the same. It took a couple of recounts, but the 2020 general election appears to be over. President-elect Joe Biden is presumed the winner of the most massive voter turnout recorded in a presidential election since 1900.

If William Shakespeare were to write about the Presidential Election of 2020, he might have described it with "Now is the election of our discontent." Political discord and exhaustion led some voters to write the name of someone they felt better suited for the position of President of The United States.

The option of casting a write-in vote is considered "throwing a vote away," a social statement that the election process "is a joke." For others, a write-in vote could be viewed as a grievance about how the Electoral College devalues the individual's vote, their voice.

Whatever the reasons, American's have used their right to vote to cast ballots for some unusual candidates, including notable, but dead, former politicians like George Washington, Andrew Jackson, and

God, Jesus Christ, Buddha, and Mother Teresa have received votes;

So have cartoon characters like Mikey Mouse, Bart Simpson, and Sponge Bob SquarePants;

fictional characters like Harry Potter, Anakin Skywalker, Big Bird, Santa Claus/Kris Kringle, and Michael Scott;

celebrities like Morgan Freeman, Clint Eastwood, Chuck Norris, Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Beyonce, and Chuck E Cheese, and of course

"Nobody," me, my momma/daddy, and "anyone else" has all received a considerable number of votes over the years.

Superheroes have been mentioned, like Batman and Superman, and even animals have received votes, including deceased gorilla Harambe, "cat in tree," "my dog," and Godzilla.

Inadament objects have also been mentioned in past elections, like cheese pizza, Giant Meteor, and a bag of nuts.

Even Adolf Hitler receives a vote or two here and there during an election.

But now it's time to check in on the local "write-in ballots" cast in 2020.

Clay County Election Clerk Anola Gallion confirms the list of 22 write-in ballots for president was relatively tame, including:

Official Write-In Ballots

Howie Hawkins - 6 votes - Green Party candidate for president

Brian Carroll - 2 votes - American teacher, American Solidarity Party nominee for president in 2020

Other Write-In Ballots

Bernie Sanders - 6 votes - American politician, Senator from Vermont, and U.S. Representative for the state's at-large congressional district, former presidential candidate, activist, author

Mitch Daniels - 2 votes - American academic administrator, businessman, author, and retired politician who served as the 49th Governor of Indiana

Andrew Yang - 2 votes - American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and former presidential candidate

General John Kelly - 1 vote - a board member at Caliburn International, retired U.S. Marine Corps general who served as the White House Chief of Staff and Secretary of Homeland Security.

Kanye West - 1 vote - American rapper, record producer, and fashion designer

Howie Hanson - 1 vote - Green Party, President & CEO, Duluth Journal

William Lucas 1 vote - fourth Director of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

Jason Jacobs 1 vote - former Clay County Election Clerk

Obstain 1 vote - Did they mean Abstain? If so, to hold oneself back voluntarily, especially from something regarded as improper or unhealthy, or refrain from casting one's vote.

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