Write-in votes for Williamson County primary feature fictitious characters, showcase a desire for nonpartisan race


Write-in votes for Williamson County primary feature fictitious characters, showcase a desire for nonpartisan race

By BROOKE WANSER

In the primary election on May 1 many Democratic voters didn’t have a candidate to vote for, so they got creative. 

Most of the write-in votes come from the Democratic primary, where some voters received blank ballots.

In the Democratic primary, 129 voters both on election day and in the early voting period wrote in a candidate for mayor, while a total of 32 voters in the Republican primary also wrote in a candidate for that race.

In the register of deeds race, that number was 95 for the Democratic ticket.

Many Democratic and Republican voters wrote in candidates running for the opposite party, who they could not vote for on their official ballot.

Some wrote in Williamson County Democratic party chair Holly McCall as their mayoral and county trustee picks.

Karen Kendall-Fite, who ran as a Democrat for a county commission seat in District 11, was written in as mayor.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, former first lady Michelle Obama, and Sen. Bob Corker (misspelled “Coker”) also got nods.

Many others voted for real candidates, misspelling their name or using a first or last name only.

Another called upon a higher power, writing in Jesus as their Democratic choice for sheriff.

As always, a few votes were cast for Mack Hatcher, no doubt a tribute to the decades-delayed Mack Hatcher Parkway.

Honorable mentions

Fictitious characters like Bruce Wayne, Peter Parker, Mickey Mouse and others were written in for various positions.

One voter even cast their Republican ballot for Hulk Hogan as Circuit Court Clerk, while another wanted country music star Willie Nelson as Republican mayor.

One proud pet owner voted for “my cat Oliver” as their District 8 county commissioner.

Another voted for “Mom” for seven of the county positions.

Rules of write-in

County election administrator Chad Gray said none of the write-in votes were tabulated because none of the candidates qualified.

To successfully mount a write-in campaign, a candidate must file with the election commission 50 days before the election, Gray said.

“None of these were counted because none of these filed a certificate as such,” he explained.

Serious write-in candidates are rare, but Gray said some run each cycle, usually for positions in the state government.

Locally, Graceworks administrator RaeShawn Sanchez has filed her paperwork as a write-in candidate in the District 63 state house race against incumbent Republican Majority Leader Glen Casada after being disqualified as a “bona-fide” Republican candidate by the state party.

But winning the race as a write-in candidate comes with unique challenges, like name recognition and awareness.

“It’s very hard to do, because your name doesn’t appear on any sample ballot,” Gray said.

He does recall one unique situation where a write-in candidate won an election.

During the 11th district school board race in August of 2000, incumbent Vince McCullough filed his election petition after the noon deadline, leading to a write-in race between McCullough and veteran educator George Badon.

In the election, Badon overcame McCullough with 142 votes to McCullough’s 95.

“That’s the last time when that was successful for anyone,” Gray said.

About The Author

Brooke Wanser is the associate editor for the Franklin Home Page, and can be reached at brooke.wanser@homepagemediagroup.com. Follow her on Twitter at @BWanser_writes or @FranklinHomepg.

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