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Write-ins add curious touch to local election

Thursday, November 7, 2013

If some area residents had their way, Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling would have been elected governor in Tuesday’s election.

Bolling, who did not run for governor or seek re-election to his current post, received at least six write-in votes in Martinsville for governor and/or lieutenant governor, according to city Registrar Cindy Barbour.

Patrick County Registrar Susan Taylor said at least one vote for Bolling was cast in that county.

Voters cast a total of 155 write-in votes in Martinsville’s election, including 19 for governor, 14 for lieutenant governor, eight for state attorney general, 11 for commonwealth’s attorney, four for the 16th District House of Delegates seat, 37 for city sheriff, 32 for city revenue commissioner and 30 for city treasurer, unofficial election results show.

Among names written on city ballots, Barbour recalled, were local lawyer and former state House minority leader Ward Armstrong for lieutenant governor, former U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra for lieutenant governor (he had been a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the post), and city sheriff’s office Capt. Bart Hampton for sheriff.

Former city commonwealth’s attorney Randy Smith was written in for that race, and former state Sen. Roscoe Reynolds of Ridgeway was written in for the state attorney general’s race, Barbour recalled.

Ural Harris, who often attends Martinsville City Council meetings and speaks from the floor to criticize the panel’s actions, was written on a ballot as a voter’s choice for city revenue commissioner, according to Barbour.

Perhaps the most humorous write-in vote, she indicated, was radio talk show host Howard Stern for lieutenant governor.

She also recalled that real estate entrepreneur/businessman Donald Trump received a vote, but she did not remember for what office.

Barbour said she thinks that in races where voters were undecided about who to vote for, “they just put in the name of someone they know,” or at least know of.

In Patrick County, write-in votes included six for governor, three each for lieutenant governor and attorney general, 62 for 9th District delegate, one for Dan River District supervisor, 30 for Smith River District supervisor, one for Dan River District school board member and two for Smith River District school board member, election results show.

Taylor could not recall off-hand whose names were written on ballots, but she said there were not many names that might evoke a chuckle.

In Henry County, election results showed 543 write-in votes were received for the Collinsville District seat on the county school board for which nobody officially ran. County elections officials will review those votes today to determine a winner.

Write-in votes for other races were not reflected on tally sheets that county Circuit Court Clerk Vickie Helmstutler released after the election.

County Registrar Elizabeth Stone said Henry County elections officials do not tally write-in votes for races in which there are official candidates.

Due to having more voters than Martinsville and Patrick County and being split into three House districts, Stone said, tallying election results is “more complicated” for Henry County.

Therefore, she indicated, officials do not have time to be concerned with write-ins, because they generally are few, unless it is under special circumstances, such as the Collinsville District school board seat.

 

 
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