10 Truly Bizarre Election Results
Elections are meant to be very serious things. After all, you’re helping decide on leaders who will guide your community or even your nation. Of course, some people don’t always take elections seriously, which is probably why Mickey Mouse gets write-in votes during every presidential election in the United States and why Michael Moore once tried to get a ficus plant elected to office. But surely no joke candidates ever win, right? We only wish that were true.
We have to stop and wonder exactly how many drugs the people of Picoaza, Ecuador were on in 1967, when it was time to vote in a mayor. Based on the fact that they overwhelmingly elected a foot powder, we have to believe the answer is “all of the drugs”. Believe it or not, a foot powder called Pulvapies managed to win the election thanks to what amounted to little more than an ad campaign, rather than a political campaign.
The deodorant firm that sold Pulvapies came out with the slogan, “Vote for any candidate, but if you want well-being and hygiene, vote for Pulvapies.” It was a harmless, relatively clever little tie-in to election season, and they could not have possibly thought anyone would take it seriously. They were so very, very wrong. Unfortunately, because the media of the ’60s was too busy covering tie-dyed hippie protests, we may never know if Pulvapies took office or if he followed through on his promise of hygiene for all.
9An Illiterate Clown
People don’t typically like politicians, calling them “clowns” or other derogatory names. Generally, it’s just a figure of speech, but the people of Brazil took it one step further by actually electing a clown to their congress. Not just any clown, but an illiterate whose campaign slogan boiled down to “I don’t know what congressmen do, but vote for me and I’ll let you know.” Even better, he also heavily used the phrase, “It can’t get any worse” as part of his campaign.
That was his entire political platform, believe it or not. He actually urged the citizens of Brazil to vote for him specifically because he planned on doing absolutely nothing if elected, aside from trying to sort out what congressmen actually do with their time. Apparently that was enough for the voters, because Grumpy the Clown received a staggering 1.3 million votes, more than double that of his nearest competition. And you know what? We’re starting to think we would have voted for Grumpy, too.
8A Guy Who Won Accidentally
In a textbook case of “that’s totally a movie or something,” a man who was only running as a favor to a friend and in no way wanted any part of being the mayor of a small village in Italy somehow managed to run away with the election. Fabio Borsatti was a friend of the lone candidate, and his friend asked him to put his name in the ring, fearing that no one would come out to the polls if the only candidate was running unopposed. How much did Borsatti not want to be the mayor? His own family didn’t even vote for him, for starters, yet he still got a whopping 58% of the vote in the rural town with a population of 507.
Despite not wanting to be the mayor, Borsatti actually respected the voice of the people enough to keep the position and not simply resign and hand the title over to his friend. Borsatti was so against actually winning that he had never even really thought about any sort of political platform, which probably made his first few weeks in office a little bumpy. He finally decided that his focus would be to promote tourism in the area, which he accomplished just by being elected (no one would have ever heard of the town otherwise).
As noted in our first entry with Grumpy the Clown, the people of Brazil can be a little kooky when it comes to elections. That’s probably because citizens of a certain age are required to vote or face repercussions (such as fines), so it’s no surprise that some people rebel by casting bizarre votes. That’s exactly how they wound up electing Cacareco the rhinoceros to city council with more than 100,000 votes.
Cacareco was a mild-mannered and popular rhino at the Sao Paulo Zoo and, as a form of protest in 1959, the voters came out in droves to elect her to office. The city officials actually tried to reject her candidacy, but she still received more votes than any other political party in that election. As you can probably imagine, the friendly female rhino never got a chance to take office as officials nullified the votes and issued a re-vote, this time making sure she wasn’t on the ballot.
In 1981, the small town of Sunol, California needed to elect a mayor, and a resident named Bosco Ramos ran against two challengers, easily defeating both of them. Oh, did we mention that Bosco Ramos was a dog? Bosco was a black Labrador and Rottweiler mix, to be specific, and he had been the unofficial town mascot when the residents decided it’d be hilarious to vote him in as mayor. Some other people didn’t think it was so funny, however. Those people happened to run The People’s Daily, the Communist newspaper of China.
Apparently unable to grasp the fact that Bosco’s election was a joke, The People’s Daily took the residents of Sunol to task and used the election as propaganda to suggest that Americans see people as dogs and that democratic elections simply do not work. Bosco died in 1994, but he’s been memorialized in various ways by the town, including with a statue. A restaurant called Bosco’s Bones and Brew opened up and, because apparently the people of Sunol are nothing if not always game for good-natured juvenile humor, the former mayor was commemorated by a one-of-a-kind stuffed dog that pees beer. We’re guessing The People’s Daily wouldn’t approve of that, either.
The symbol of the American Democratic Party is the donkey, which is what makes it so odd that in 1938, a mule won the election for the Republican precinct committeeman in Milton, Washington. So how could the offspring of an actual donkey have been elected to a Republican post? Well it’s pretty simple, really. He ran unopposed. Oh, and he was put up for election by the town’s Democratic mayor, who apparently took politics seriously enough to run the town but not quite seriously enough to let a dig at the Republican party pass him by.
The mule, named Boston Curtis, was taken down to the courthouse by the mayor, Keith Simmons, who had him sign the required documents with prints from his hoof. Simmons signed the documents as his witness. In addition to making a joke at the expense of the Republican Party, Simmons also got Boston Curtis elected as a means to show that voters have no idea who they are voting for, and to prove that the primary system was severely flawed. Mission accomplished, Mr. Mayor.
4A Goat And A Poodle
The township of Whangamomona, in addition to having a name that sounds like a 1980’s dance craze, is a village in New Zealand that was first settled in 1895 and is so small and has had such poor population growth that its only school and post office closed decades ago. You can probably guess from its size and lack of public offices that the residents might decide that they don’t really want to take elections seriously. And when Whangamomonans don’t take something seriously, they go all out.
Beginning in 1989, they started electing a town president. The first person elected was a man named Ian Kjestrup, who was put on the ballot without his knowledge. He went on to serve in that position for a decade. However, that’s when things really got interesting. In 1999, the townspeople elected Billy Gumboot, which sounds like a weird name until you realize he was a goat. He “won” the election by eating the ballots of his competitors, and died in office in 2001. Billy was succeeded by Tai, a poodle, who “retired after an assassination attempt left him a nervous wreck.” Following Tai in office and serving as president since 2005 has been Murt “Murtle the Turtle” Kennard, who is an actual human being, despite his nickname. The people of Whangamomona may not take their politics very seriously, but they sure sound like the kind of people we’d love to have a beer with.
Fact: Cats are lazy, prissy animals who think the world revolves around them. They spend their days looking grumpy, eating, swatting at you when they get bored, and just generally being antisocial. But apparently they make very good politicians, or at least that’s what we’re forced to assume considering that the town of Talkeetna, Alaska has run under a cat mayor for 15 years. It all started when the residents of the little town decided that the human candidates blew chunks, so they organized a write-in campaign for Stubbs the kitten (they grow up so fast!).
The residents are quick to offer tongue-in-cheek praise to Stubbs, noting how he’s never raised taxes and doesn’t break any campaign promises, and pointing out how he treats small business owners fairly. Stubbs has been a bit of a tourist draw as people in Talkeetna say that up to 40 people pop in almost daily hoping to meet the mayor, and his Facebook page has more than 10,000 subscribers, which once again proves that—for whatever reason—the internet loves cats.
Since we just talked about a cat, it only makes sense to move onto something the internet loves nearly as much, and that’s Bender from the television show Futurama. He’s the star of memes and the inspiration for countless message board handles, and in 2012 he was voted in to head up the Washington, D.C. School Board. See? We told you he was popular.
So how did this happen, you might ask? Well, while the other cases on this list involve people actually casting votes for these ridiculous candidates, in this instance it was actually a group of hackers from the University of Michigan who got into the electronic voting system and proved that it wasn’t nearly as secure as officials wanted to believe. The officials had actually offered up this election as a test run and invited people to just try and break in, boasting that the system was far too secure for anyone to succeed.
And if there’s one thing the internet loves anything more than the combination of cats and Bender, it’s a haughty challenge from an authority figure.
There are a few things we generally look for in candidates, like honesty and integrity, and—regardless of what Congress currently looks like—we usually require a heartbeat as well. But believe it or not, dead people being elected to public office are relatively common. In 2009 alone, dead guys from Florida and Alabama each won their campaigns despite passing away weeks before the election.
Earl Wood of Florida was 96 years old, so it shouldn’t come as a shock when he died leading up to his election. He actually wasn’t planning on running again until his nemesis—and yes, apparently a 96-year-old man in Florida had a nemesis—made plans to take his seat as Orange County Tax Collector. Wood coasted by on name recognition, winning 56 percent of the vote. The other dead guy to get into office that year was Charles Beasley, a 77-year-old man from Alabama running for Bibb County Commissioner and getting 52 percent of the vote after passing on. Apparently in that case, the blame can be passed to lazy voters who just decided to give a blanket vote to anyone in the Republican Party.
As further proof that this is a bizarrely common trend, a woman named Jenny Oropeza was running for the California Senate a year later, only to die weeks before the election. She still won in a landslide because she had passed away too close to the deadline to be taken off the ballot. In a rare display of cunning, her party was coy about the severity of her illness, leading the opponents to cry foul and suggest they had purposely lied about her impending death in order to force a special election for her seat. Keep it classy, California politicians.