You want to run for mayor as a write-in candidate? Feel free, but this year you’ll likely need to pre-register.
Council Member Cam Gordon is proposing some changes in how municipal elections are conducted that likely would include counting only the names of write-ins who wrote in to the city ahead of time to declare their candidacies.
The idea is to free ballot counters from having to sort through the multiplicity of frivolous candidacies written in by voters and the second and third choices of those voters under ranked-choice voting.
Interest piqued, this reporter requested the list of write-ins for mayor from 2009.
We can report that Duck, Donald went voteless that year, although studio mates Goofy (one vote) and Mouse, Mickey (two votes) were represented.
Lizard People drew only one first-choice tally, but was listed for a number of backup choices. Lizard People drew notoriety as a write-in choice during the
2008 U.S. Senate recount. A columnist for this newspaper described Lizard People then as “a reference to a nutjob cult that believes we're ruled by an ancient race of alien reptiles.”
But seriously, do we want to limit a kind of voting where a practiced nonconformist like Ken Avidor can gain parity with former House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher at one vote apiece? Even if some voters seem to be geographically challenged, listing St. Paulites Chris Coleman, Garrison Keillor and Norm Coleman. Or Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who probably has more pressing matters to tend to than potholes – at least those resulting from frost-heave rather than IEDs. Or former Vice President Dick Cheney, who might have trouble dealing with a weak-mayor, strong-council charter.
Some legitimate Minneapolis pols and recovering pols did draw votes. Lisa McDonald topped the list of former council members with three votes, followed by Pat Scott with two, and a vote for Mark Kaplan. Former Mayor Don Fraser drew a vote, as did spouse Arvonne. Peter McLaughlin, who ran for mayor the cycle before, drew a whopping 12 first-choice votes, but there were none for Sharon Sayles Belton, who served two mayoral terms.
But the king of the write-ins was Bob Miller, director of the defunct Neighborhood Revitalization Program. His 62 first-choice votes probably reflect his abortive mayoral bid, which he cut short before filing because of dual family health problems. His polling probably also reflects neighborhood anger over NRP’s demise.
Miller, a city native, moved to Edina in 1999 for reasons of accessibility, but re-established city residency for the 2009 race. He’s now back in Edina. That’s one reason he’s not a contender this year.
“I’m done with that, man,” he said recently. “I’m 65 years old.”