Charles Darwin Runs for Office

British voters may recall Screaming Lord Sutch, 3rd Earl of Harrow, of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, who ran in over 40 parliamentary elections during the 1980s and 90s. He never won, but garnered a respectable number of votes and many fans (he was also a musician).

The United States followed a more dignified path in the 2012 elections, when Charles Darwin ran for a Congressional seat in Georgia. Darwin failed to win, but collected a respectable 4,000 votes. His opponent, Paul Broun, believes that the Earth “is but about 9,000 years old”. Interestingly, Representative Broun serves on the United States House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

[div class=attrib]From Slate:[end-div]

Anti-evolution Congressman Paul Broun (R-Ga.) ran unopposed in Tuesday’s election, but nearly 4,000 voters wrote in Charles Darwin to protest their representative’s views. (Broun called evolution “lies straight from the pit of hell.”) Darwin fell more than 205,000 votes short of victory, but what would have happened if the father of evolution had out-polled Broun?

Broun still would have won. Georgia, like many other states, doesn’t count votes for write-in candidates who have not filed a notice of intent to stand for election. Even if the finally tally had been reversed, with Charles Darwin winning 209,000 votes and Paul Broun 4,000, Broun would have kept his job.

That’s not to say dead candidates can’t win elections. It happens all the time, but only when the candidate dies after being placed on the ballot. In Tuesday’s election, Orange County, Fla., tax collector Earl Wood won more than 56 percent of the vote, even though he died in October at the age of 96 after holding the office for more than 40 years. Florida law allowed the Democratic Party, of which Wood was a member, to choose a candidate to receive Wood’s votes. In Alabama, Charles Beasley won a seat on the Bibb County Commission despite dying on Oct. 12. (Beasley’s opponent lamented the challenge of running a negative campaign against a dead man.) The governor will appoint a replacement.

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article after the jump.[end-div]