What do AOC, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Batman, Julius Randle and Santa Claus have in common? They all got written votes for New York mayor
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Thousands of New Yorkers who voted in New York’s mayoral election last month either didn’t like their choices or wanted to make their own statement – so they cast their vote with a written candidate.
Their writing choices were revealed this week when the New York City Council of Elections released its official 2021 general election results. No written vote changed the election result, of course; Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was elected mayor in a landslide. But the written votes – which included a range of other politicians, celebrities, athletes, public figures and even departed loved ones – provided a glimpse of what some voters were thinking when they went to the polls on Election Day, the November 2. or during the early voting period.
Among the celebrities who got at least one written vote were reality TV personality Kim Kardashian; actor / producer / director Lin Manuel-Miranda; director Spike Lee; talk show hosts Stephen Colbert, Desus Nice and Trevor Noah; actors Alec Baldwin, Levar Burton, Steve Buscemi (misspelled on the ballot as Busciami), Timothee Chalamet, Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson, Patti Lupone, Jeff Goldblum, Susan Sarandon, John Stamos; singers Mariah Carey, Ariana Grande, Mick Jagger and Bette Midler; comedians Lewis Black, Janeane Garofalo, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart; almost 100-year-old actress Betty White of The Golden Girls; public figure Santa Claus; and actor / singer Stefani Germanotta, the New York native you know better as Lady Gaga.
Unsurprisingly, one of the candidates defeated by Adams in the June Democratic mayoral primary received the most written votes. More than 1,426 people registered in the name of mayor of former sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia; the Election Office tally notes that more than a dozen others voted for Garcia, but with variations (some erroneous) of her name, such as Katherine Garcia, Catherine Garcia (who got 20 votes) or Kathryn Garica ( sic).
The second runner-up in the Democratic primary, civil rights lawyer Maya Wiley, received 1,199 votes. Another 181 people wrote in her name with the middle initial (D.) included.
The official council of elections tally for mayor includes hundreds of other choices written by voters, almost all of which received only one vote. Other politicians in the city, state and country were among those who received more than one written vote in the contest.
Bronx / Queens MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, for example, won 29 written votes. Former disgraced governor Andrew Cuomo was 14.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders got 28 votes from New Yorkers who apparently wanted the Brooklyn native to come home and rule the city. Former Secretary of State and New York Senator Hillary Clinton also received 26 written votes. Former Minnesota senator and Saturday Night Live actor / writer Al Franken got four votes.
Former presidents also did the tally: Barack Obama got five votes, while Bill Clinton only got one. Perhaps reflecting the increased number of Republican voters in the 2021 election, former President (and former New Yorker) Donald Trump won 29 votes.
Meanwhile, former mayor Michael Bloomberg, who stepped down in 2013, garnered 116 votes from written supporters who wanted him to return for a fourth term. And after a few difficult years, the current limited-term mayor, Bill de Blasio, still received the support of 17 people, two of whom voted for him using his birth name, Warren Wilhelm.
Athletes get good results
The world of sport was also well represented among registered voters. Yankees slugger Aaron Judge had nine votes, while his teammate outfielder Aaron Hicks had the backing of a voting fan. Former Yankees and Mets outfielder Darryl Strawberry garnered support from two registered voters.
Knicks star Julius Randle garnered the support of six fans, while his team’s head coach Tom Thibodeau got three votes in writing after one of the Knicks’ most successful seasons in recent years.
Other current and former athletes who received written votes include former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter; the ace throwers of the Mets Jacob deGrom; Mets free agent pitcher Marcus Stroman; Mets first baseman Pete Alonso; Brooklyn Nets stars James Harden and Kyrie Irving; former Yankees manager Joe Torre; Knicks legends Patrick Ewing and Walt “Clyde” Frazier; and Basketball Hall of Fame member Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The dear departed
Some registered voters have turned to history and voted for personalities who are no longer with us.
They included former presidents Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt; Four-Star General and Secretary of State Colin Powell; Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater; and Georgia Congressman and civil rights icon John Lewis. Former Mayor David Dinkins, who died last year, also received four written votes, while his predecessor, the late Ed Koch, received six votes.
Fiorello LaGuardia, who was mayor during the Great Depression and died over 75 years ago, still had the support of five registered voters in 2021.
Other deceased writing voters included comedians George Carlin and Andy Kaufman; musical icons Syd Barrett, David Bowie, Miles Davis, Jim Morrison, Lou Reed, Joey Ramone and Frank Sinatra; actors Sean Connery and Flip Wilson; and author (and former mayoral candidate) Norman Mailer.
Stranger than fiction
In most elections, there are always a few frustrated voters who choose to have fun with their democracy and write the names of fictitious characters. Perhaps the most surprising of the entries was Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek: The Next Generation; the character of the cult sci-fi film, played by Patrick Stewart, received two votes.
They included Bart Simpson of Springfield and his father, Homer; Bruce Wayne of Gotham City (aka Batman); Star Wars mercenary Boba Fett and evil overlord Kylo Ren; Daffy Duck of Looney Tunes; Disney’s Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse; Jimmy Neutron from Nickelodeon; Lucy Van Pelt of Peanuts; McDonald’s mascot Ronald McDonald; and Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation.
It is better to vote in writing than not to vote at all. If you are not registered to vote, you can do so by visiting vote.nyc.