Mickey Mouse or any other fictional character had just as good of a chance to receive a vote Tuesday in a Columbia County race that confused some as it offered only a write-in option.
"He (Mickey Mouse) might get more votes, but he can't get certified,'' joked Nancy Gay, a registration coordinator for the Columbia County Board of Elections office.
Ultimately, just one name was certified to receive votes as a write-in candidate for the position of Columbia County soil and water conservation district supervisor, that of Gene Hair. His name wasn't on the ballot because it wasn't submitted in time. However, because he was certified as the only write-in candidate, he only needed one vote to win the election.
Debbie Marshall, Columbia County's elections director, said it was the first time that she knew of in Columbia County that only a write-in option was available in an elected race, adding that the unusual option spurred on some voter questions.
Marshall said a list of all certified write-in candidates was posted at all county precincts Tuesday. To vote for a write-in candidate, voters had to manually type in a name.
In the case of Hair's election, officials said the vote was to fill a vacant term on Columbia County's five-member board, which is overseen by a state commission.
Niki Strain, an elections supervisor for the Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission, said elections for similar posts in other counties Tuesday caused confusion there as well.
"Even in south Georgia, we've got some that nobody qualified for and so they've got a write-in block on the ballot and there's nobody qualified,'' she said. "You just think you're confused. You need to go to south Georgia. Yeah, it gets worse.''
Strain said that in general the soil and water conservation commission exists to oversee erosion and sediment control issues for individual counties in such areas as development and farming. She said this year is the first time the position has been placed on a general election ballot, adding that special elections were previously held for the spot but a legal challenge recently changed that.
The position is one few know much about and seemingly fewer want.
"Hopefully by next year the race will be a little bit better known and maybe we'll actually have people running,'' Strain said.
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