The write-in rundown

In last week’s election, Asheville City Council member Robin Cape received 4,478 write-in votes, according to figures from the Board of Elections. While Cape’s bid for a second term was serious, many of the other write-in votes were not (Squirt the Wonder Clam, really?).

Cape, who changed her mind and decided to run for a second term after the filing deadline, passed out pencils and ran a vigorous campaign, but was ultimately unsuccessful, coming in fifth place. Cape got the lion’s share of the 4,627 total write-in votes.

The remaining 149 are a mixed bag, to put it politely. On the more serious side, former City Council member (and current county commissioner) Holly Jones got 18 write-in votes for her old seat, while current Council member Kelly Miller, who stepped out of the race before the general election, got 12.

On the mayoral side, Cape also led the write-in field with 23 votes, followed by Shad Marsh (who ran in the primary) with 18, Asheville Design Center planner Joe Minicozzi with 12, Council member Carl Mumpower with 11 and former Council member Joe Dunn with five.

Then there’s Squirt the Wonder Clam. Someone exercised their right to vote for a marine creature. Squirt is joined by the illustrious (Christopher Walken, Ferris Bueller, Big Bird, Mickey Mouse), the criminal (DB Cooper, Charles Manson), the dissatisfied (“None of the Above,” “Anybody Else”), the parental (“Your Mom”) and, of course, perennial political favorite Satan, who could not be reached for comment.

Asheville media types got some electoral love as well, with votes for Ashevegas, long-time Xpress contributor and editor Nelda Holder and WCQS mainstay David Hurand. UNCA political professor William Sabo also got a nod. Better luck next election, everyone.

— David Forbes, staff writer


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10 thoughts on “The write-in rundown

  1. brebro

    Just think how different the results may have been had Squirt the Wonder Clam actually spent any money on the campaign or showed up at a forum. I think you have not heard the last of this promising mollusk.

  2. Viking

    Apparently there were write-ins for Cape with no ovals filled out. While it may seem natural to ignore those votes, election law is based on capturing voter intent. People space, even with a lot of instruction on proper procedure.

    The 4,478 number excludes the boxes of ballots the Buncombe BOE says have a name, but no oval filled in (most in the recent election likely for Cape). No one knows what that “name, without oval” number is.

    While write-in campaigns are probably a really bad way to try to get elected, it seems like the ‘no oval/no count’ policy on write-ins could use some review. Otherwise, making sure we are the best election systems possible is a good thing.

  3. Viking

    I tried to post important information on this issue that MX refused to publish.

  4. Piffy!

    Oh, and Squirt the Wonder Clam is from New York. Just more signs our town is being over-run by Socialist Yankee carpet-baggers.

  5. travelah

    Shad Marsh packed up his 17 votes with a white van at the foot of Coxe ave. That was really nice of him to do that.

  6. brebro

    Is that foot still laying there at Coxe Avenue? I thought a dog or something would have taken it by now.

  7. Jon Elliston


    You say you tried to publish important information on this that Xpress refused to publish. Perhaps something got lost in the shuffle, because I’m not familiar with it. What was the information, and how did you send it? And our apologies if we dropped the ball on getting your info out. Sometimes there’s so much info surging around that we miss a dispatch, but we certainly don’t mean too.

    Jon Elliston, managing editor

  8. Viking

    Hey Jon,

    I think the “viking: Nov 13, 2009 at 12:25 PM” was what I wanted to say. I looked for it the next day and didn’t see it.

    I guess the lesson is “don’t run a write-in campaign”. Or, it should be a valid option. There also seems to be reason to review NC election management policy as well, not that we aren’t doing a fairly good job now.

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