Friday, November 9, 2012

Charles Darwin, Write-In Candidate

Charles Darwin, at least where I live, is a popular guy.

There's been a lot of attention about the write-in campaign using his name thanks to my U.S. Rep's rather shaky understanding of science (local stories here and here, but also found nationally).

Being the nerdgeek I am, I dumped the file of write-in ballots into a spreadsheet and tried to get an exact count of the variations of Charles Darwin.  Best I can tell, there were 3,908 write-in ballots for the mostly dead naturalist -- who if he had been elected, would have been 203 years old, roughly the same age as U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd when he died.

I may have missed some.  I show 6,907 different kinds of write-ins for the U.S. House race. I excluded write-ins for the other races. Some of the spellings of Darwin are creative, so I may have missed a few, but after some effort to transfer the PDF into a spreadsheet, this is what I found.
  • Search for "darw" and I get 3,908 (not case sensitive, by the way).
  • Search for "darwin" and I get 3,876.
  • Search for "charles darwin" and 3,320 went with the full name.
  • "darwinn" had two hits.
Having looked through the data, I'm comfortable with the "darw" search.  I can't find any other names that use those four letters together but who obviously meant someone else.

I should point out there were a lot of write-ins for "anyone else" or "any one else" or "any one but him" and so on and so on.  As many as for Darwin?  I don't think so.  Any use of the word "anyone," for example, gives only 248 hits, and any use of "anybody" came up with only 35.  Other popular write-ins?  Best I can tell:
  • Big Bird got 23
  • Bill Nye got 13
  • Pete McCommons, local publisher, in one form or another (McCommunist) nailed a whopping, 170 votes.  Actually it's more than that, given all the various spellings or just "Pete Mc" and such.
  • And finally, Darth Vader got two votes for U.S. House -- one of them from my son.
If you'd like to see the spreadsheet, you can download a simple column of the write-in names by clicking here.

And yes, I voted for Chuck Darwin as well.

Update (3:47 p.m. Friday)

Honey Boo Boo got 1 vote.  Just thought I'd throw that in.

It's widely reported already how many votes Jarvis Jones received (not nearly enough, but over 10).  John Doe did well with eight.  Jesus (4 votes) outscored Mohammed (1 vote).  Satan got 2 votes.

And finally, Jim Thompson got one vote.  Probably from himself.  Just saying...

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