SYRACUSE — Would you vote local TV news anchor Rod Wood into public office? How about former local talk host Jim Reith? At least a few people said “yes” to these and other local broadcasters, submitting their names as write-in candidates during the 2012 General Election, according to results from the Onondaga County Board of Elections.
Recently remembering the interesting finds on the write-in list from the 2011 General Election, your editor wondered if such a list had been released for the latest polling. After searching around and not being able to find the list anywhere, we filed a Freedom of Information Law request with the Onondaga County Board of Elections. Though we requested results from a few key races, the Board quickly and graciously provided results from every race to generate write-in votes on November 6. 2012.
Here’s a quick summary of names we recognized as people connected to local or network/syndicated broadcasting. Page numbers refer to where you can find these people in the full-list of ALL write-ins, which is embedded for viewing further down in this article.
Congress – 24th District
- Page 2: Comedian and syndicated TV talk host Ellen DeGeneres
NYS Senate – 53rd District
- Page 7: WSYR radio Sunday morning talk host George Kilpatrick
- Page 7: Could the two voters who wrote “John King” have intended to vote for the now-former Chief Engineer of WSYR-TV?
- Page 8: Terrestrial-radio-host-turned-satellite-radio-host Howard Stern
- Page 8: Comedian and “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart (spelled “John” on the list)
NYS Assembly – 126th District
- Page 10: Chalk up another one for Howard Stern, from a different voting district than the previous vote.
NYS Assembly – 129th District
- Page 13: “Colbert Report” host Stephen Colbert gets a vote, though the elector incorrectly entered his middle initial as P. (It’s T.)
- Page 13: Former WSYR-TV General Manager Steve Kimatian, who has previously run for public office.
- Page 14: Like the above vote for John King, we realize there might be more than one Pat Lucas out there, but we can’t help but wonder if this ballot was intended for the WSYR-TV production crew member of the same name.
- Page 14: Former WSYR radio and WCNY-TV talk show host Jim Reith.
- Page 14: Fox Business Channel host John Stossel.
Onondaga County Court Judge
- Page 16: Another vote for Howard Stern.
- Page 16: A vote for “Judge [Joseph] Wapner,” who hosted “The People’s Court” from 1981 to 1993. (And yes, he’s still around, turning 93 last November.)
Onondaga County Family Court Judge
- Page 17: Howard Stern (leading the pack with 4 write-ins so far, in case you lost count)
Onondaga County Clerk
- Page 18: Pat Lucas.
- Page 19: Howard Stern.
City / Town / Village Races
Syracuse City Court Judge
- Page 20: Rod Groat (the real name of WSYR-TV anchor Rod Wood).
- Page 20: Groat’s former boss, Steve Kimatian.
- Page 20: Fox News Channel and radio talk show host Bill O’Reilly.
- Page 21: “Judge Judy” Scheindlin, star of the syndicated courtroom TV show of the same name.
Syracuse Commissioner of Education
- Page 21: Syndicated radio talk host Glenn Beck
- Page 22: Bill O’Reilly.
- Page 23: WSYR-TV production crew staffer Steve Strathmann.
Town of Cicero – Town Justice
- Page 23: “Judge Judy” Scheindlin.
- Page 23: Howard Stern.
- Page 23: Cable talk show host Oprah Winfrey.
Town of Geddes – Highway Superindentent
- Page 24: Pat Lucas.
Here’s the full list of all write-ins throughout Onondaga County. This list is exactly as the Board of Elections provided it, except we highlighted names of local broadcasters in green, and national/syndicated broadcasters in yellow. As you’ll see, there are plenty of other celebrities (like Harrison Ford, Madonna and Roseanne Barr) and even some popular fictional characters (like Pee Wee Herman) scattered throughout the list.
Although 26 pages is plenty, it’s still shorter than the 35-page list of write-in votes generated by the 2011 General Election. However, it was noted that the 2011 ballot featured several races for which there was a single candidate, virtually assuring that candidate a win — a scenario that tends to open up the floodgates for creative write-in responses. By contrast, the 2012 general election featured more prominent races with multiple candidates on the ballot, so voters may have been more likely to support a candidates printed on the ballot.
Story Photo: From left, Rod Wood, George Kilpatrick, Jim Reith.
Did we miss anyone?
With 26 pages of write-ins, and not knowing the name of every person who works at every radio and TV station in Syracuse, we know there’s a chance we may have inadvertently overlooked some of these write-ins. If you know of anyone else we should add to our summary, feel free to post a comment below, or send a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org.