Perhaps the most surprising result from Charlottesville's precinct reports this year is that there were no write-in votes for Waldo Jaquith. Is the ur-blogger losing his touch with the hometown electorate?
This lacuna may be no accident. The overall write-in totals were small, indicating that voters took this election very seriously with regard to all three races on the ballot. There were 71 write-ins for President, including 26 for Ron Paul, 12 for Hillary Clinton, and one for certified write-in candidate Brian Moore. Others receiving write-in votes for President included Joe Schriner (3 votes), Michael Bloomberg, Henry Clay, Frank D. Roosevelt, Marcy Kaptur, Colin Powell, Mitt Romney, Bill Richardson, Leslie Dishannon, Kerry Dooley, John L'Etoile, R. D. Patrick Mahoney, Scott Elmer Moeller, John Paul, Joe Schneider, Optimus Prime, and McCain But Never Palin.
The candidates who had ballot status received these votes in Charlottesville (all unofficial totals): Barack Obama (15,537); John McCain (4,057); Chuck Baldwin (26); Bob Barr (86); Cynthia McKinney (17); and Ralph Nader (61).
In the U.S. Senate race, which was won by former Governor Mark Warner, someone cast a write-in vote for "MARKWARNER" (one word, all caps). Warner edged out his chief rival, former Governor Jim Gilmore, by 16,313 to 2,907. Glenda Gail Parker received 105 votes, and Libertarian Bill Redpath got 143.
Other write-ins in the Senate race in Charlottesville were John Galt (who is John Galt?), Congressman Ron Paul, Delegate Bob Marshall, Krishna Kishore, Barack Obama, Larry Joseph Sabato, David Bartok, Ryan Coughlin, Sahara Ghafari, Duncan Baker II, Al Lopez Jr., Diane Garrett Moeller, Matt Toner, Sean Shanks (3 votes), Prolife, Mary Smith, Greg Moritz, Michael Francis Moore, Geri Wilkins, and the initials "JP" and "W." There were 31 write-in votes in this race.
The race for Fifth District member of the U.S. House of Representatives currently stands at a dead heat, but Tom Periello beat incumbent Virgil Goode handily in Charlottesville: 15,754 votes for the Democrat to 3,715 votes for the Republican. (Again, all these totals remain unofficial until after the Electoral Board completes its canvass and the State Board of Elections certifies the vote.)
There were 39 write-in votes for this race in Charlottesville, with John Galt making a return appearance, as well as musicians Jerry Garcia, Andre Young AKA Dr. Dre, and Soulja Boy. Two-time congressional candidate Al Weed received two votes. Others receiving write-in votes were UVA President John Casteen, former UVA basketball coach Pete Gillen, and 2007 Libertarian state senate candidate Arin Sime.
Odd votes in this race included Amethyst Initiative, which refers either to a drag queen performing at Club 216 or the group of college presidents seeking a national debate about the drinking age, and the author of Das Kapital, Karl Marx, as well as perennial write-in candidate Mickey Mouse.
Additional names on the write-in list were Rear Admiral James J. Casey USN (ret), Antoinette Garza, John Devor, Brian Bristow, Tim Lewis, John Norton Moore, Oliver Kuttner, Brice McKeever, Geoffrey MacDonald, Erich Forrest Moeller, Elizabeth Boyd, Fred Schneider, and Eddie Smith.
Someone named William Wilder was written in for all three offices (president, senator, and congressman). Another voter took the time to write in "none of the above" in all three races. (The handwriting matched each time.) Several blank write-in votes were recorded, as well as variations like "none" and "none of them."
Although not all the figures have been analyzed, it appears that Charlottesville voters chose at a ratio of better than 3 to 1 to use the eSlate electronic voting device instead of the paper ballot fed through the eScan digital scanner. Even when lines for the eSlate were much longer and voting a paper ballot would have speeded the process for them, voters chose to cast their ballot on the DRE. I plan to write about this live Election Day experiment, which has been fascinating from the moment we decided to purchase the Hart Intercivic eScan equipment to supplement our eSlates, which we have used in Charlottesville in every election since May 2002.
I took quite a few photographs around Charlottesville during the course of the day. There were musicians at several precincts, who entertained voters as they stood in line waiting to reach the voting booth. Here are some scenes from Election Day 2008:
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