Odd Election Results

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Various Democrats and Republicans and so forth won their various races and blah blah blah. Here are a few possibly more interesting results from yesterday's elections.

  • Rhode Island voters rejected a measure that would have changed the state's name, which it turns out is not actually "Rhode Island" but rather "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations," reflecting the way the colony was formed in the 1600s. Some objected to the word "plantation" because of its connection with slavery, although ironically Providence Plantations itself had outlawed slavery while it was still an independent colony.
  • More surprisingly, California voters rejected Prop 19, which would have legalized marijuana under state law. Everybody who wants to will continue to smoke it, of course. Also, Meg Whitman lost the race for governor by 12 percentage points, despite spending a record $141.5 million of her own money. Her campaign spent a total of $163 million, which as others have pointed out is $2 million more than the entire budget of the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • In local San Francisco races, Richard Ulmer will remain a Superior Court judge despite his challenger's creative tactics. Candidates in SF must decide how their name will appear on the ballot in Chinese. Ulmer, like most non-Chinese candidates, picked something that sounds like his English name but doesn't really mean anything. But Michael Nava chose "Lee Jing Ping," which sounds nothing like his name but does mean "justice" and "fair" in Chinese. "It would be like someone who is Irish registering as Jose Gonzales," an Ulmer supporter said. Nava still lost.
  • Also, perennial SF candidate "Starchild" ran again this year, and lost again. Starchild, who lists his occupation as "erotic service provider," got 9,761 votes for a seat on the SF Board of Education.
  • Speaking of aliens, Denver voters chose to put us all in jeopardy by refusing to create the Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission I mentioned the other day. Initiative 300 lost by just 67 points (83-17), which sponsor Jeff Peckman said he found encouraging. "It's better than what we thought," said Peckman, who is a crazy person.
  • Finally, Oklahoma voters voted 70-30 to amend the state constitution to preclude courts from using, or even considering, Islamic sharia law. I guess this reflects a concern on the part of some that there is a conspiracy afoot to replace existing law with Islamic law by citing the latter in briefs and trying to get one judge at a time to consider it in his or her rulings, a clever strategy that might have some discernible effect in just a few thousand years. (Maybe they should also amend their constitution to make "star whacking" illegal, just to be safe.)

Remember, just two more years until we can do all this again.