By the end of the grueling 2012 election season, practically everyone had grown weary of seeing the same names and faces and hearing the same voices and messages ad nauseam.
Officially, the ballot called for voters to select their choices for President. U.S. Senator, Congressional representative, and Circuit Court Judge, but, unsatisfied with the options provided, Harford County voters filled up more than 40 pages with the names of assorted athletes, heroes (mythological and otherwise), cartoon characters, actors, various profanities, and other colorful candidates they wrote-in.
Following the November 6th Presidential General Election, The Dagger requested and acquired from the Board of Elections a list of the write-in votes from the 2012 Presidential General Election in Harford County, from which some interesting trends can be traced.
President – Ron Paul garnered only 200 votes and there were just 368 other Harford voters who did not vote for one of the two major party candidates; evidence, perhaps, that the presidential race captured voter attention without third party candidates playing spoiler in Harford.
1st Congressional – While there were 1,575 votes (give or take, counting the various unconventional spellings) for Democrat John LaFerla, Wayne Gilchrest had fewer than two dozen loyal supporters asking for his return.
Judge – The most off-ticket write-ins were for judge. Ed Andrews, the primary-round challenger, received approximately 75 votes.
And then things got interesting.
Despite the then-soon-to-debut motion picture depicting his life and times, Abraham Lincoln garnered only a single vote among all Harford County voters. Bill Clinton was slightly more popular, receiving four votes, but his wife Hillary nearly quadrupled his total with 15 votes. Although he won a second term as president and his name appeared on the ballot as such, Barack Obama still gathered five write-in votes. His wife Michelle even picked up vote; and the family name was invoked another time via a write-in vote of “F*** Obama.”
Among the mythological candidates, Santa Claus was the clear winner, with more than 90 write-in votes. God lagged behind with just 13 votes, and was outpaced by his son, Jesus, who brought in 33. Other notable fictional characters supported by Harford County voters included Bart Simpson, Batman, Big Bird, Darth Vader, Mickey Mouse, Pee Wee Herman, Rick Grimes (protagonist from The Walking Dead comic book and TV show), Van Wilder, Yoda, Count Chocula, Ron Swanson (curmudgeon from the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation”), Cthulhu (author H.P. Lovecraft’s fictional cosmic entity), Iron Man, Peter Pan, Tarzan, Ted Nugent (American rock musician), Chuck Norris (American badass), Optimus Prime, Clint Eastwood, Chuck E. Cheese, Hurricane Sandy, Odin (the Norse god), Skynet (self-aware computer system from “Terminator”), and Your Mom.
From the world of sports, Harford County residents cast write-in votes for NBA superstar and Maryland native Kevin Durant, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, Aberdeen’s own Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, and Orioles skipper Buck Showalter, among others. But the clear winner among the athletes was Baltimore Orioles first baseman Mark “The Sheriff” Reynolds. Thanks to a grassroots campaign perpetrated by radio hosts on 105.7 FM “The Fan,” Reynolds brought in 88 votes – nearly as many as Old Saint Nick!
Moving beyond names, real or fictitious, there is another type of write-in voter who opts for using short and typically nonsensical phrases, band names, and references to specific anatomical appendages. These would include entries such as Dolphin Blood, Federal Kill, Snowshoes, The Fred, Vermin Supreme (apparently a real and perpetual “candidate”), Krado the Magnificent, Lizard People, and My Left Foot.
Some voters just couldn’t make up there minds and simply wrote in “No One,” “Not Him,” “Anyone But Her,” along with one earnest plea for “A Fair Person.”
Among the notable non sequiturs were the phrases “DID YOU INTEND IT FOR HURT OR HELP, DID Y” and “BALANCE OF PHYISICAL[MASCULANE/OUTER.”
Your guess is as good as mine.
For the complete list of write-in candidates by race, please see the document below: