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?
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?
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