ONTD Political

Charles Darwin gets 4,000 write-in votes in Athens against Paul Broun

11:26 pm - 11/09/2012
A follow-up to a post a month back: GA Congressman: evolution is "lies from hell"

By Jim Thompson
updated Friday, November 9, 2012 - 2:00pm

Charles Darwin, the 19th-century naturalist who laid the foundations for evolutionary theory, received nearly 4,000 write-in votes in Athens-Clarke County in balloting for the 10th Congressional District seat retained Tuesday by five-year incumbent Republican Rep. Paul Broun.

A spot check Thursday of some of the other counties in the east Georgia congressional district revealed a smattering of votes for Darwin, although it wasn’t always clear, based on information provided by elections offices in those counties, whether those votes were cast in the 10th District race. And because the long-dead Darwin was not a properly certified write-in candidate, some counties won’t be tallying votes for him, whether in the congressional race or other contests.

A campaign asking voters to write-in Darwin’s name in the 10th Congressional District, which includes half of Athens-Clarke County, began after Broun, speaking at a sportsmen’s banquet at a Hartwell church, called evolution and other areas of science “lies straight from the pit of hell.”

Jim Leebens-Mack, the University of Georgia plant biologist who started a “Darwin for Congress” Facebook page in the wake of Broun’s remarks, said the number of Darwin votes cast in the race were “in the ballpark, a little bit more” than he had expected.

The Darwin votes, Leebens-Mack added, made it “clear to me, and I hope everybody, that Paul Broun is vulnerable” in terms of continued re-election to Congress. Broun was first elected in a special 2007 election, and won re-election in 2008, 2010 and again on Tuesday in a newly drawn 10th District, reconfigured as part of congressional reapportionment.

“The campaign for 2014 started yesterday,” Leebens-Mack said Thursday, adding that the next step will be identifying potential candidates for the next congressional election.

In a Thursday interview, Leebens-Mack pointed out that in addition to the write-in votes cast for Darwin, the 10th District contest attracted a large number of other write-in ballots. “Votes” were cast in the race for “Anyone but Broun,” “Anyone else” and various permutations of that sentiment, with “Big Bird” and “Bill Nye, The Science Guy” also earning ballots.

The only legitimate write-in candidate in the race, little-known Brian Russell Brown of Augusta, who has mounted write-in campaigns for other high-level offices in recent years, received a large number of votes in Athens, claiming more than 200 ballots.

In addition to the write-in votes cast for Darwin in the 10th Congressional District race, a handful of votes for the long-dead British scientist were cast in other races on Athens-Clarke County ballots. Votes for Darwin were tallied in both statewide Public Service Commission races, and for all of the state legislative offices on the ballot, including uncontested seats.

“I can’t ever remember seeing a (write-in ballot) report that long,” said Athens-Clarke County Elections Supervisor Gail Schrader after releasing the full list of write-in numbers to local media Thursday morning.

Broun received 16,980 votes in Athens-Clarke County, and garnered 209,917 votes across the district.

The congressman’s press secretary did not return calls to her office and to her cellphone Thursday afternoon, nor had she responded to an email request for comment.

Source: Athens Banner-Herald Online (local paper cited in major national news articles on this)

OP: Saw Rachel Maddow gleefully report on this and thought I'd share. ;)

Nye 2014?
the_physicist 10th-Nov-2012 06:28 pm (UTC)
I always hope that people like him who have so much contempt for science practice what they preach and don't use any of the work created by devil worshippers, like computers, mobile phones, the internet...*insert epic list here*... toothpaste, and deodorant.

You know, just to show us all they actually believe what they are saying.
grace_om 10th-Nov-2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
Yes, and pretty much any modern medicine. I have an old Doonesbury cartoon where the doctor asks the TB patient if he's a creationist -- so therefore he'll only want the older treatment that no longer works because the bugs have evolved resistance.
the_physicist 10th-Nov-2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
Ah, I actually didn't mention modern medicine because there really are issues with some people like that believing prayer is better than modern medicine, which would be fine if they didn't have kids or didn't have a huge amount of power over their congregation or the like and they had to suffer because of it...
ragnor144 10th-Nov-2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
I would settle for these people just not using antibiotics. Along with the people who think that a pregnancy that threatens a woman's life is "god's will". Then so is that pneumonia.
rhysande 10th-Nov-2012 11:56 pm (UTC)
And cancer. Feel free to not remove any of the sacred cells in your tumor.
bushy_brow 11th-Nov-2012 01:39 am (UTC)
They ARE life, you know.
wimples 11th-Nov-2012 05:16 pm (UTC)
that's what I always think/say when people spew that shit
layweed 10th-Nov-2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
This election seems like it's a lot more entertaining than the lizard people election of 2008 was.
mindrtist 11th-Nov-2012 03:20 am (UTC)
I'm laughing so hard right now.

Yet, I'm reminded of my friend insisting that Donald Rumsfeld was a lizard.

the_glow_worm 10th-Nov-2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Well, he is the natural selection.
popehippo 10th-Nov-2012 06:57 pm (UTC)
Pffffffffft. You win.
ragnor144 10th-Nov-2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
Well played.
karma_aster 10th-Nov-2012 09:13 pm (UTC)
I see what you did there.
poetic_pixie_13 10th-Nov-2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
mentalguru 10th-Nov-2012 11:44 pm (UTC)
alicephilippa 10th-Nov-2012 06:46 pm (UTC)
This made the papers on this side of the pond. Go Charles Darwin. :D
liret 10th-Nov-2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
I do feel sorry for them on a personal level. I've heard people who have broken away from those kinds of mindsets talk about the absolute terror that can come from having doubts, and wondering if they're a sign you're not really saved because your faith isn't good enough - I can see how that pushes a person into proving to themselves and others that they believe no matter what 'traps' the devil and his secular minions try to set. Admitting reality doesn't fit your worldview is a sign of dangerous spiritual weakness, to that kind of thinking.

On the other hand, I think people should be disqualified from public office - and other things, including practicing medicine, which is Brun's other career - if they prove that they'll reject facts and evidence in favor of what they are told to believe. That kind of attitude in someone making laws is terrifying.

Edited at 2012-11-10 07:57 pm (UTC)
kitanabychoice 10th-Nov-2012 09:16 pm (UTC)
Agreed on all points.
mirhanda 10th-Nov-2012 07:03 pm (UTC)
Instead of writing in a useless vote, why not vote for his opponent and get him out of there? I mean it's cute and all, but not as useful and unseating him. If he was running unopposed, use the drive that they put out to get people to vote for Darwin to write in an actual living person.
mirhanda 10th-Nov-2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
People outside of his district can vote in that election? Huh. Here in my state, you can only vote for the representative running for your district.
mysid 10th-Nov-2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
When I was in college, I was registered to vote in my hometown, not my college town, and voted via absentee ballot. I'm guessing many UGA students do the same. HOWEVER, you think UGA faculty could help sway things to the thinking person's side.
veracity 11th-Nov-2012 12:34 am (UTC)
Well, there's the fact many may not live in the district either. I go to another local college, about 40 minutes to the south, and many of our fac and staff live on the East side of Atlanta. Judging by their comments in classes and such anyway. So not a District 7 area.
romp 11th-Nov-2012 08:14 am (UTC)
I lived in Athens for a bit and it was fairly liberal. But I suppose it's Athens vs. the rest of the district.

Has your friends been at the Banner-Herald long?
layweed 10th-Nov-2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
I think he may have run unopposed, judging from the Politico election results for the 10th District for Georgia.
veracity 10th-Nov-2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
A lot of us had unopposed. I think I'm in the 4th district now, since the gerrymandering. I know I used to be 7th.
terseywersey 10th-Nov-2012 07:18 pm (UTC)
He didn't have a real opponent. I voted for Darwin because it was the best way to make a statement. The problem with the 10th District is that it encompasses one of the most liberal counties in the state (Athens-Clarke), but unfortunately, that is also the smallest county in the state... so the majority of the district is very conservative. Even very good candidates in the past (including a Democrat who was an Iraq war veteran from one of the conservative rural counties) have failed to garner much support outside of Athens, including opposition within the Republican party. I personally voted in the Republican primary just to vote against Broun this time around because that was the only opposition he faced, and there were many Democrats who did the same, but to no avail.

Edited at 2012-11-10 07:19 pm (UTC)
veracity 10th-Nov-2012 07:40 pm (UTC)
And then you have counties like Gwinnett, where you have three different districts. You get 10th, 4th, and 7th. 7th is Woodall's place, which yay for not having him anymore, but also boo because Gwinnett is a pretty populated county and all this moving around is ridiculous. I'm in the 4th and my mom is in the 7th. We're a whopping 10-15 minutes apart in the driving direction, same county. I vote at my dad's old address but I'll be back at 7th district when I put in my new address. The Republicans have created a nice little lock in the area.

I didn't even know if there WAS a democratic opponent, to be honest.
layweed 10th-Nov-2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
Sounds like Central Texas. Austin and Travis County is a liberal stronghold but because of the way they carved up the map around here, we have one Democratic Congressman for the entire region and he doesn't even serve all of Austin.
liret 10th-Nov-2012 07:45 pm (UTC)
He ran unopposed. The fact there were this many people willing to write in dead scientists makes me wonder why, but I suppose until these remarks came out he was considered untouchable. (Even after I'm sure he would have won, given the district, but they could have made him fight a bit and possibly look vulnerable for next time.)
corinn 10th-Nov-2012 08:09 pm (UTC)
He ran unopposed, and another article mentions write-ins are invalid unless the write-in candidate has previously filed paperwork ("notice of intent," I think). There was one person who did so. The guy got 200-300 votes (I've seen both figures in different articles). Part of the problem there might be that his name was Brown and the incumbent was Broun, but articles seem to attach the descriptor "little-known" to Brown, so maybe he just didn't have a prolific campaign. I can't even find a web site for him to find out what positions he holds. Maybe he's also batshit. Who knows?

Yeah, promoting a legit candidate would have been better. It seems the only legitimate write-in candidate didn't take advantage of people being pissed at the incumbent to launch a Facebook campaign or something. Broun's comments were publicized in early October-- what was the deadline for filing write-in eligibility paperwork? IDK. And that may have been too close to the election for someone to go "Hmmm, I think I will run for Congress."

Like the one organizer says: At least it shows there's a possible vulnerability in that district. Hopefully democrats will pounce in 2014.
kitanabychoice 10th-Nov-2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
I agree with this, but on my ballot there were lots of sections where only one person was running -- so it was either vote for them or withhold the vote. I withheld my vote, but my bf thought it better to write in his dog's name. I guess it just depends on where you are.
layweed 10th-Nov-2012 11:01 pm (UTC)
Huh. I didn't think to do this. Most of the people who ran unopposed were Democrat judges so I just went ahead and filled those in, but there were several Republican/Libertarian races where I could've done that. I guess that's what happens when you vote on a machine with annoying scroll wheels and buttons.
kitanabychoice 11th-Nov-2012 12:28 am (UTC)
Ah, see, I had an early paper ballot, so I simply left those options blank. I did end up voting for a Libertarian over a Republican, in one of the sections. When I looked over his stance, he mostly talked about implementing a law where victimless crimes (like marijuana possession) are prosecuted less heavily.
piratesswoop 11th-Nov-2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
I did that on my ballot. John Boehner was running unopposed but there was a write-in spot so I voted for Serena Williams.
kitanabychoice 10th-Nov-2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
It's kind of scary that there's people out here who decry ALL forms of science even though they are surrounded by products of that science. You can't tell me this guy doesn't have a phone, use the internet, ride elevators, drive, etc. /smh
rkt 11th-Nov-2012 12:27 am (UTC)
OP this is the same story but with a slightly different angle and includes a partial list of some of the other write-ins

corinn 11th-Nov-2012 02:22 am (UTC)
IDK, Athens-Clarke County voters. Wouldn't Voldemort run on an anti-science platform, too?

Cthulhu smites those who think He is a minor enough evil to serve as an elected official.

Obi-wan would be good on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, though. Good choice.

Edited at 2012-11-11 02:24 am (UTC)
zhiva_the_mage 11th-Nov-2012 11:08 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of "50 better warchiefs than Garrosh" thread on old WoW forums :) That one included things like "half a stack of peacebloom" and "basic campfire".
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