Maybe lawmakers generations ago saw the election of 2016 coming. Maybe they didn’t want to count cartoon characters or dead folks when sorting out candidates for the top job in the country. For whatever reason, they made sure South Carolina voters won’t be straying too far from the pack on election day. Title 7 – Elections, Chapter 13 in South Carolina reads like a phone book. About halfway down is one of the shorter voting rules, but one that could surprise a voter on Nov. 8. It states: “The ballots shall also contain a place for voters to write in the name of any other person for whom they wish to vote, except on ballots for the election of the president and vice President.” So all those next day reports of odd write-in votes nationwide won’t happen in South Carolina. “It varies by state law,” said Wanda Hemphill, registration and elections director for York County.
A quick Internet search shows the creativity of an American populace. Past votes for president include candidates who couldn’t serve if elected. Some were fictitious. Some were leading foreign countries, or dead rock stars. Others were historical figures. Many more write-in votes, according to elections offices like the one serving New York City, simply were illegible.
A July Gallup poll found “historically bad image ratings” for the top Republican and Democratic contenders for president this year. Then debate season began.
Tim Reid in Lake Wylie made a social experiment. He set up a ballot box between the canned preserves for customers at his farm stand. By the first presidential debate, South Forty Farms had 190 votes.