Perhaps one of the most admirable aspects of American-style democracy is that pretty much anyone can be president -- and they don't even have to be on the ballot to get a vote.
The New York City Board of Elections today released final results from the 2008 presidential vote, in which 800 members of our distinguished electorate wrote in their pick for president. Some 2.6 million votes were cast in New York City, elections records show.
The mindset of the write-in voter is examined by the New York Times, who broke down some of the results in an effort to determine whether write-in voters are motivated by humor, disaffection or a real effort to put forward a better candidate.
One such political statement was made by a New Yorker who found that better candidate in "my cat Ginger."
But there were serious choices, as well. For example, one Brooklyn voter believed Greek philosopher Socrates would make a fine leader -- his death some 2500 years ago notwithstanding. He wasn't the only dead guy: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt all got nods.
Dr. Joyce Brothers, who once said "being taken for granted can be a compliment," was given kudos by by a voter in Manhattan.
Comedian Stephen Colbert got three votes and Tina Fey got one.
Hillary Rodham Clinton was not without her loyal supporters even after she lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama. She pulled in 250 write-in votes.
Her husband Bill also got a vote. Yes, just one -- while former Russian President (and current prime minister) Vladimir Putin was able to double that tally with two write-in votes. He looks pretty good with his shirt off, though.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg had already set his sights on a third term, but 34 voters thought he should be the new commander-in-chief. His companion, Diana L. Taylor also got a vote.
The Queen of Daytime TV, Oprah Winfrey, got a vote in Manhattan. Britney Spears, having now apparently pulled her life together, got a write-in nod from a Brooklyn voter. In Queens, someone thought Paris Hilton could do a good job in the White House.
Perhaps the most curious (and hilarious) write-in vote came for John McCain, who was actually on the ballot with the Republican nomination. According to the Times, the voter, seeking to avoid confusion, left this note:
“John McCain of 2000 Not 2008 (Totally different people.)”