From left to right: Doug Oliver, business mogul Donald Trump, sanitation-worker enthusiast "Soxx," President of the Philadelphia Foundation Pedro Ramos, President Barack Obama, former DA Lynne Abraham, Congressman Chaka Fattah, and local sportscaster…

Pedro Ramos, Chaka Fattah, Donald Trump and other write-ins for Philly mayor

Write-ins are a pillar of the democratic electoral process. They're also sassy, hilarious, and sometimes crude.


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Write-ins are a pillar of the democratic electoral process. Don’t like the slate of candidates given to you for a particular office — or all of the offices? Just write in the name of who you think would better suit the role. Or just write something ridiculous. That’s what hundreds of people in Philadelphia do every election anyway.

Credit to PhillyVoice for beating AL DÍA to the Board of Elections office by a few hours to get the full list. Check out their write-up on the write-ins if you can’t get enough of this stuff. But there are a few names they missed that we’ll note here for our readers.

We scanned over 200 pages of off-the-ballot candidates. The majority of the names were unknown. According to a Board of Elections staffer, lots of voters put forth their own names or the names of friends, neighbors and relatives on the ballot — because why not?

Discontented with the ballot choices for the mayor’s race, here are some alternatives that voters spelled out in protest. (We've noted which ones launched formal or informal write-in candidacies.)

  • Pedro Ramos (newly appointed president of the Philadelphia Foundation)

  • Donald Trump (real estate mogul, U.S. presidential candidate)

  • Howard Eskin (over 20 votes, launched his own write-in)

  • "Soxx" (fictional character, sanitation enthusiast, launched her own write-in)

  • Doug Oliver (former mayoral candidate in Democratic primary)

  • Lynne Abraham (former district attorney and candidate in the last primary with Oliver)

  • Chaka Fattah​ (veteran congressman currently facing federal charges)

  • Mumia Abu-Jamal (activist convicted of murdering a Philadelphia police officer)

  • Queena Bass (forever running a write-in campaign)

There are a few things you can learn about Philadelphia voters from off-list choices outside the mayor's race:

Someone, somewhere, in every single corner of the city, really dislikes their council person. Councilman Kenyatta Johnson in the 2nd District got the most write-in scorn, though. Some 15 votes were written in for developer Ori Feibush, who unsuccessfully ran against Johnson in the May primary election. A handful of 2nd District residents voted for things like “Someone who is not corrupt” and “Batman III” and “Milton Street” and “Jesus Christ not Kenyatta.”

There were several write-ins against the unchallenged 7th District Councilwoman Maria Quiñones-Sánchez. But unfortunately, many of the paper slips never made it back from the precincts, or the print turned out illegible. One of the write-in votes for the 7th District Council seat that did make it into the registry, however, was for 7th Ward Leader and State Rep. Angel Cruz.

One voter wrote in “Ideally more party choice” for almost every race on the ballot.

A few voters proposed to usher retiring elected officials into new offices. One suggested that Mayor “Mike Nutter” take a judge’s seat on the Commonwealth Court. Another optioned PPD Commissioner Charles Ramsey to head up the Sheriff’s office.

Speaking of the Sheriff. As usual, maybe a dozen write-ins for different row offices contained some variation of “abolish this office.”

There were non-existent candidates from “Mickey Mouse” to “Cheesegod 69” (don’t ask). There was one vote for Adolf Hitler. Someone thought that Mayor-elect Jim Kenney would be better suited on the Court of Common Pleas. Expletives galore that we won’t reprint here, except maybe the one vote for the Register of Wills that said “F*** pay-to-play!” There was one particularly racist and error-ridden rant that took at advantage of write-in space across several contested races.

At the end of the tally, every vote matters. Thank your hard-working election board staff for making sure every vote is put on the record, now matter how far out or fictional the voter's politics may be. If you want "Johnny Doc is an FBI rat" for the 6th District City Council seat, which someone did, your voice shall be heard.

Note: Write-ins that contain expletives, contain no name, or refer to fictional or deceased persons will not be included in the final registry.

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