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Batman, the Pope received Osceola write-in votes

Posted on Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 8:00 am

By Ken Jackson
Staff Writer
During the recent General Election, were you searching for an alternative candidate for president besides Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton?
In Osceola County, 4 percent of voters chose someone else, led by Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, who votepulled 2,811 votes for 1.99 percent of the 141,363 presidential votes cast.
But 1,261 voters chose to send a different message and wrote in a candidate — Mickey Mouse and Batman got their requisite presidential votes.
It happens every election, said Amber Smith, the community relations coordinator for the Osceola County Supervisor of Elections office.
“When I go to speak to the students at the high schools during our voter registration drives I always bring this topic up,” she said. “I have noticed a trend, that a lot of times the write in names mirror those of whatever movie is popular.”
Smith noted when “Pirates of the Caribbean” debuted, write-in votes were cast for both Johnny Depp and the fictional Jack Sparrow.
But the Black Pearl’s captain would be sad to hear that votes for them could not and would not count, even if the entire pirate army swelled up and voted for him.
Write-in candidates must still file paperwork to be considered a certified candidate, but if they do not gather the required number of petitions or pay the filing fee, a percentage of the annual salary for the position they’re running for, their names do not show up on the ballot.
Actual candidates, such as Evan McMullin, a former CIA officer and a write-in candidate in 12 other states who received 21 percent of the vote in his native Utah, and Bernie Sanders got votes. Rapper Kayne West was listed on at least one ballot.
Harambe, the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati Zoo in May, got a vote. Then came the list of fictional characters, like executive branch crisis fixer Olivia Pope from the TV show “Scandal.” Then come the super heroes that voters want to “come to the rescue.”
“We usually have a wider range of super heroes. This year we only had Batman. In year’s past, Captain America and Iron Man were favorites,” Smith said. “I was surprised that none of the Star Wars characters made the list this year. And our close proximity to Walt Disney World means there are always votes for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. This year, we saw some new Disney characters make the list, such as Goofy and Pluto.
“There are always a lot of random names of people that we think vote for themselves. And (Hall of Fame baseball player) Wade Boggs did a vote for sheriff (just five fewer than qualified write-in candidate Tim Devine).”
At least three voters turned to divine intervention as their choice for the White House, listing The Pope, Jesus and God.