Elections

SpongeBob, John Wayne among write-in votes on Coast

Ballot boxes from the 2016 general election are stacked at the Harrison County Election Commission before going into storage on Wednesday, November 30, 2016.
Ballot boxes from the 2016 general election are stacked at the Harrison County Election Commission before going into storage on Wednesday, November 30, 2016. amccoy@sunherald.com

It was, after all, Taco Tuesday.

On Nov. 8, the day an overwhelming majority in Harrison County voted for Donald Trump for president, some voters couldn’t get behind the candidates on the ballot and cast write-in votes instead.

The Sun Herald spent almost two hours examining hundreds of ballots from a cross-section of precincts to give a voice to the contrarians and jesters who chose to cast write-ind that would not count.

Like the voter in the North Bel-Aire precinct in Orange Grove who wrote in “Tacos” in the uncontested race for election commissioner. Unlike the March primary when Batman, Superman, et al., received write-in votes, no superheroes scored in this election. Unless you consider the cartoon fry cook SpongeBob to be one. Many parents do, because of his uncanny ability to quiet a rambunctious child for a half-hour.

SpongeBob got a vote for Supreme Court justice. Johnny Quest was written in for election commissioner on the same ballot. They were the only cartoon characters who surfaced unless the person who wrote in Donald Duke and Daisy Duke for Congress and the state Supreme Court actually meant Donald and Daisy Duck. Who knows? Maybe there was a third Duke brother.

New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. got a vote for the Court of Appeals. And Jose Martinez was written in for Supreme Court. That voter could have been pulling for the Cardinals outfielder of the same name.

A voter in Gulfport Precinct 12 went old school, writing in Clint Eastwood for Appeals Court and John Wayne for election commissioner. Election commissioner was uncontested and a favorite target for the write-ins.

Former U.S. Rep. Gene Taylor got several votes for his old seat, as did Joe Blow and the ever-popular None of the Above. N/A got one for election commissioner. Anyone But was written for the Appeals Court and Election Commission.

Denise Bonds was one of several ordinary people who got votes. She was the choice of one voter for Supreme Court, Appeals Court and Election Commission.

Some voters had trouble spelling. One wrote in Feleshia do Burks for Supreme Court and Burks, Felishi for Appeals Court. We’re guessing that is the same person.

Dean got a vote for Election Commission. Dean. Harrison County’s answer to Bono. Jeff Powell, Christy Corman, Gloria Murphy and Greg Carter got votes for the same post. Carter also was the choice for Appeals Court.

Some people were clearly confused. One voter marked every presidential candidate except Hillary Clinton and Darrell Castle, then wrote in “I voted for Donald Trump.” No, you didn’t.

Another didn’t vote for any presidential candidate, but wrote in Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine for Congress.

One wrote in Tom Teel for president then wrote “mistake” with arrow pointing to Teel’s name. Then the voter wrote in Teel for Election Commission and wrote “This is the one I want” and another arrow next to Clinton.

President Barack Obama got a vote for Election Commission.

We found one vote for perennial candidate Shawn O’Hara for Congress. That voter wrote in Danzig for president, William Ferral for Supreme Court, Adlidin for Appeals Court and Genie for Election Commission.

Paul Hampton: 228-896-2330, @JPaulHampton

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