“Not Wilson” for U.S. Congressional Second District. “Anybody else” for S.C. House District 81. Cold Creek Nurseries for Aiken County Treasurer. “Them” for School Board District 8.
In an election that was one of the most muddled in recent memory, voters displayed a sense of humor by offering up a slate of write-in candidates of historical figures, pop culture celebrities, fictional characters and John and Jane Does.
Aiken County Registration and Elections officials said it's to be expected that, whenever a ballot allows a voter to provide a write-in candidate, some interesting names appear.
There were plenty of opportunities to write in names this year because there were several locally-contested races involving write-in candidates.
Write-in David Lobb challenged S.C. House District 86 incumbent Bill Taylor; write-in Jim Vause opposed incumbent Sheriff Michael Hunt; write-in Daniel Turno challenged Charles Barton for Aiken County auditor; and there were 11 write-in candidates for treasurer.
“People do it (write in quirky names) just to be silly. If only they understood we had to go through all of these,” said Cynthia Holland, executive director of Aiken County Registration and Elections.
More than 16,000 write-in votes were cast in the treasurer's race alone. Officials hand-counted write-in votes in 38 precincts before an electronic audit machine came online.
There were 402 write-in votes cast in the House 86 race, or 3.5 percent.
There were 2,431 write-ins cast in the Aiken County Sheriff race, or 4.4 percent.
There were 1,639 write-ins cast in the Aiken County auditor's race, or 3.3 percent.
Perhaps the granddaddy of all write-ins was the late Gov. Strom Thurmond when he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1954. He easily won the election as a write-in candidate with 143,444 votes.
Other write-ins in last Tuesday's election included Obama, Clint Eastwood, Mickey Mouse, Me, Alf, Donald Duck, Big Bird, Nobody and Beyoncé. They were noted as “no votes.”
If pop culture were a democracy, who'd be doing what, y'all?