Politics & Other Mistakes: A shout-out to the write-ins

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I once got two write-in votes for governor. In 1996, an election official in Portland told me a pair of what we can only assume were very confused individuals entered my name in the space on their ballots normally reserved for Mickey Mouse.

Rest easy. Those votes didn’t count.

Under Maine law, official write-in candidates must file a “Declaration of Write-in Candidacy” with the secretary of state’s office at least 60 days before the election. Since neither Mickey nor I did that, the Diamon and Disney freaks wasted their votes.

The good news for those weirdos is that there are plenty of actual write-ins registered for this November’s election. If neither Trump, Biden nor the Libertarian, Green or Alliance nominees (all of whom are on the ballot) appeal, you might want to vote for a guy who’s actually named President.

President R19 Boddie (he swears that’s his legal name) hails from Georgia and received 72 votes in this year’s New Hampshire Republican primary. After that triumph, Boddie re-registered as a Democrat, but now he’s an independent. He told his hometown newspaper, “The reason I went through all the parties is I believe that love will unite all the parties.” He has solutions for every one of the nation’s problems, but is keeping them secret for now. Because: reasons.

Other (slightly) less eccentric presidential write-ins include Native American activist Mark R. Charles of Washington, D.C.; Tom Hoefling of Iowa, the founder and nominee of America’s Party; Kasey J. Wells of Illinois, who, based on YouTube videos, seems to be a socialist; and, for those who’d prefer a local option, M.D. Mitchell of Scarborough, the standard bearer of the Dirigo Party, which has so far managed to keep its existence a secret.

If you’re unhappy with the official U.S. Senate choices of Republican Susan Collins, Democrat Sara Gideon, Green-turned-independent Lisa Savage and Democrat-turned-Reform-turned-Republican-turned-independent Max Linn, you also have write-in options.

Tiffany Bond, a Portland lawyer who ran unsuccessfully for the 2nd Congressional District seat two years ago, attempted to launch an independent bid for the U.S. Senate this year. But Bond, hampered by the coronavirus pandemic, couldn’t collect the 4,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot. She then unsuccessfully sued the state demanding to be declared an official candidate anyway, because the coronavirus wasn’t her fault. She’s now the write-in nominee of the “Moderate MaineRaising Independent” party.

Ian Kenton Engelman of Portland is another Senate write-in, representing the “Facts Matter” party. Engelman seems to be the founder of a company that makes orthotics and braces. Given the crippled state of the Senate, his expertise could be useful.

Douglas Fogg was once a selectman in Orrington and is now a teacher, who has pledged to spend no more than $100 on his Senate campaign. So far, Fogg appears to be under budget. According to his Facebook page, he’s anti-abortion and pro-same-sex marriage, fiscally conservative and liberal on racial issues, a Catholic and sort of a Protestant.

In the 1st Congressional District, incumbent Democrat Chellie Pingree and Republican challenger Jay Allen face two write-ins: Democrat Nancy C. Farrand of Freeport and no-party-at-all Ian Arthur Leavitt of Brunswick. Farrand is a retired educator. Leavitt is an electrical contractor. Neither one seems to have made much effort to explain why they’re tilting at windmills.

The 2nd District also has two write-ins competing with Democratic Congressman Jared Golden and Republican candidate Dale Crafts. Daniel J. Fowler of Bar Harbor and Timothy Adam Hernandez of Addison both list themselves as Democrats. Based on online searches, the former is reasonably anonymous, while the latter is a failed candidate for the Democratic State Committee.

It’s easy to dismiss all of the above as little more than substitutes for voting for none of the above. But even futile endeavors (cold fusion, the war on drugs, White House pandemic precautions) are worthy of some notice, if not much respect.

Now, they’ve received about the right amount of both.

If you’re planning to write in Mickey or me this year, email [email protected], and I’ll explain why that’s a bad idea.

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