Mickey Mouse for Durham City Council? Check out 2017’s write-in votes.

Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse came up short in their “election” bids in Durham in 2017.
Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse came up short in their “election” bids in Durham in 2017. Associated Press

As serious as politics can be, so too can the mockery of it.

So as dependable as the election cycle, there’s always that one voter who wants Mickey Mouse to win. As so it was in Durham’s municipal general election, too. But not just Mickey Mouse – Minnie Mouse and even Pluto, too.

More than 36,000 votes were cast in Durham for the general municipal election. And while most voters inked in circles next to the candidates on their ballot, some wanted a third choice.

Mayor-elect Steve Schewel defeated Farad Ali for Durham mayor, but some voters wanted neither. So there were serious write-ins too. Some voters wrote in a candidate who lost in the primary, like Pierce Freelon, who got 40 write-ins, or Sylvester Williams, who got eight write-ins. Council member Don Moffitt and LeVon Barnes, who both lost in the City Council primary, each got a few write-ins, too.

One voter apparently doesn’t want outgoing Mayor Bill Bell to leave, even if they were unsure of how to spell his name, writing in Bill Beall. There was a write-in here and a write-in there for individual real life people. And former elected officials, too – Jacqueline Wagstaff got a write-in vote for mayor, and another voter simply wrote “Wagstaff.”

As for the rest, well. They’d have to campaign much harder to win in Durham.

Highlights of write-ins for mayor and three city council ward seats (spelling is by the voter):

A. Conservative.


Clint Eastwood.


Anyone else.

Bernie Sanders.

Donald Trump.



Ric Flair.

Santa Clause.

Daffy Duck.

Easter Bunny.



Not voting.


Betty Davis.

Elizabeth Warren.

Ben Carson.

Tooth Fairy.

Dawn Baumgartner Vaughan: 919-419-6563, @dawnbvaughan