Even The Devil got some votes

The ability to write in the name of an individual exists on our voting ballots for a reason. It gives us a chance to select someone who isn’t already listed — thereby keeping our options open if we don’t like the selections we’ve been dealt.

So, a few years ago during a general election, I opted to use the write-in opportunity in at least one case, where I felt the individual who needed to serve in that capacity wasn’t included.

And so did a lot of other people. All totaled, there were probably more than 1,000 write-in votes in York County alone.

Unfortunately, however, some of those write-in names were ludicrous. We’ve heard the stories over the years about people writing in Mickey Mouse for president, for example.

During that earlier election process, I heard a new one. In a specific voting jurisdiction, I guess someone decided that he or she was going to vote for The Devil, for not just one, or two, or three, but for multiple offices and multiple times.

Yes, the story goes that someone actually neatly blackened the assigned ovals and repeatedly voted for The Devil.

Once there is a write-in vote, the ballot is booted from the counter and the name is recorded. If there are enough such votes for a write-in candidate, the name must be verified — does the person live within the jurisdiction in which he or she received the vote, is he or she over 18 and is he or she a registered voter? If they get enough votes and those requirements are determined to be met, they could be named the winner of a race and are given the opportunity to decline or accept.

So we pondered, here in the newsroom, what would have had to be done, had The Devil accrued enough votes to take over a political seat.

First requirement — does The Devil live within the jurisdiction in which he received the vote? Copy editor Kerri Pankratz and I mulled that one over.

“Well, of course he lives in the jurisdiction,” I said, noting all the bad things written in the headlines. “There’s no doubt he’s around and hangs out here pretty much most of the time.”

But is this the primary location of his permanent residence?

Kerri noted the political conundrum in this theory. I also chuckled as to the extensive round-table discussions that would have to be held, on CNN and the morning talk shows, while political experts argued whether The Devil exists at all.

“Can you imagine the existential debate that would take place?” Kerri asked, adding the conversation would probably last so long it would stretch into the next election cycle.

“But does he in fact exist?” would ask Anderson Cooper. He’d have to direct the inquiry to a Catholic bishop, a Protestant minister, a serial killer sitting on death row, UFO investigators and Buddhist authorities in Asia. Each would be accompanied by a special assignment reporter who the network had flown there overnight.

Diane Sawyer, wearing a ball cap and jeans (because she’d been up all night trying to find The Devil for an exclusive interview), would quietly and soberly state, “Yes, Anderson, that remains the question. Our goal is to find out who really is The Devil and where exactly does he spend the majority of his time?”

George Stephanopoulos would get out his fabulously digital Smart Board and start drawing circles on a global map, trying to determine where the most evil can be found — an obvious indicator as to The Devil’s permanent residency. But soon, Oprah Winfrey would call in, saying bad things happen everywhere.

“I think ya’ all need to accept the goldarn fact that The Devil lives in this jurisdiction, plain and simple,” James Carville would add.

Okay, check. One requirement met.

Next — is the write-in candidate over 18? The experts would easily agree that The Devil is certainly over 18, seeing how his name has been mentioned for thousands of years.

“Alright, we got our answer there,” Anderson Cooper would chime in while Stephanopoulos would draw a big check mark with his pointer finger on his well-lit screen.

“But still the question remains,” Sawyer would say as she’d slightly squint through her blond bangs. “Is he, is The Devil, in fact, a registered voter?”

They’d call in Geraldo Rivera to do the digging — after all, he found an empty vault once that wasn’t Al Capone’s, claimed to have evidence that Michael Jackson was never guilty of anything and is strong enough to have his nose broken on his own television show.

“Good, I don’t have to talk about this anymore,” Carville would comment, thick with Southern accent.

Phone records would be seized, Congressional hearings would be convened and Anderson Cooper would camp outside a desert commune rumored to be filled with polygamists.

And each night, orchestrated theme music would play, “Da da da DAAAAA,” while letters would flash across the screen, saying “Search for The Devil’s Voter Registration.”

Only when the newest presidential candidates started hinting to their intentions would the hoopla be directed away, leaving The Devil no longer a political talk-piece. No check there. But if he had been confirmed, surely he would have accepted as it would have given him one more platform on which to do his work.

Oh, that was quite the election cycle. There were a record number of voters that year and a record number of write-ins . . . so many, even The Devil got a nod.

I guess we will have to wait and see how this year’s saga ends . . . and if The Devil will be included.



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