Most voters in last week’s election assumed, with good reason, that there were five presidential candidates from which they could choose: Republican Mitt Romney, Democrat Barack Obama, Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
All five of these candidates — or, more properly, the slates of 13 electors pledged to vote for them — had vote totals reported on election night. Obama won Virginia, followed closely by Romney, and more distantly by Johnson, Stein, and Goode.
What went unreported was that there were six certified write-in candidates for President in Virginia. This means that they filed as candidates and presented slates of electors who were pledged to vote for them. Consequently, the State Board of Elections required that write-in votes for these candidates had to be reported by local Electoral Boards in the abstracts of votes that were reported after local canvasses were completed.
I know this because I was called in to Charlottesville’s Office of Voter Registration and Elections today to sign a revised abstract of write-in votes for the City. It turns out that one of the certified candidates, Rocky Anderson (a former mayor of Salt Lake City) received one write-in vote in Charlottesville, which we had not reported when we completed our abstracts last Friday — instead reporting 53 invalid write-ins. We did not learn until Monday that there were certified candidates whose votes had to be reported.
Anderson was the best-known of the certified write-in candidates. He had sought the nomination of Americans Elect, the failed effort to recruit a “bipartisan” third-party ticket nominated over the Internet. That project fizzled by early this summer, but Anderson still got his name on the ballot in 15 states, as an independent candidate and also representing the Independent Party of Connecticut, Justice Party, Natural Law Party, New Mexico Independent Party, and the Progressive Party. He was a certified write-in candidate in 11 states, including Virginia.
Another certified write-in candidate was Beverly Simmons-Miller, who also ran as her own running mate. (That sounds like the basis for some strange “I am my own grandson” riddle.)
There was also Sheila “Samm” Tittle, whose campaign web site is optimistically titled “Madame President 2012.” Not content with a single slogan, she stands for “Equal Rights for All. Special privileges for none” and “One of Us for All of Us!” and “Main Street Before Wall Street” (capitalization as in original).
Then there is Jill Reed, whose web site asks, “What makes the world go round?” and who notes:
I can as easily slip into my “little black dress” to head to the hostel shower or to a “night on the town”. It’s genius – we can solve anything when we are traveling and haven’t the convenience of things and “others” to help us out.
Another write-in candidate, Dennis Knill, assures us that “I was born in Montana, lived in Ohio, California and now reside in Arizona. I carry a copy of my birth certificate with me, just in case you want to see it.”
By far the most bizarre of the write-in candidates is Joseph Glean, who submitted two certifications so that he could have two running mates (Darlene Herleikson and Jamie Johnson). Glean, a Liberty University graduate, ran for the House of Delegates last year in the 44th district against Scott Surovell, claiming to be endorsed by the Independent Green Party of Virginia. (His policy positions, especially on social issues like marriage equality, seem at odds with the Independent Greens — but that party often seems at odds with itself.)
Glean seems to have submitted as his slate of electors the same slate that was submitted by the Democratic Party and pledged to vote for Barack Obama and Joseph Biden. He has asked Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli for an opinion stating that those electors can vote for Glean/Herleikson or Glean/Johnson instead of Obama/Biden when they meet in Richmond on December 17. Glean has even posted a YouTube video alleging the case that he, not Barack Obama, won Virginia in the 2012 presidential election.
Say what you will about Virginia politics, it is not without its amusements.