Man Writes Himself On NJ Ballot And Accidentally Wins

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Elena Weissmann Contributor
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A New Jersey resident accidentally won a Democratic county committee seat after jokingly writing himself in on the ballot.

Whenever he votes, Flemington, N.J., resident Harry Gerdes, 26, writes himself into every open seat for local elections, “kind of as a joke,” he told Politico.

Gerdes, an IT worker and Sen. Bernie Sanders supporter, voted in the New Jersey Democratic primary two weeks ago with little expectation of winning.

“This time, I actually got a letter saying I won,” he told Politico. He could also have a chance at being the nominee for a seat on the Flemington Borough Council.

Confused by the election results, Gerdes went on Reddit, a massive link-sharing website, to share his bewilderment.

“I won an election by writing myself in but I don’t exactly know what this means,” he posted under the handle “dopey_giraffe,” along with a picture of his Certification of Election.

“I’m more than willing to do whatever this means, but I don’t know what it is,” he added. “I’ve been writing myself in for years but I never expected to actually win something.”

Gerdes’s post has gone viral, yielding 407 comments and 2,567 “up” votes from users.

When one sincere Reddit user, “Dsxm41780,” informed Gerdes of some of his new duties as a county committee representative, Gerdes responded, “That actually sounds alright…I suppose this is a good way to get my foot in the door.”

As the 2015 primary hit a record low for the number of votes cast, Gerdes only needed the single write-in vote to fulfill minimum election requirements, said Hunterdon County Clerk Mary Melfi.

“Actually, when you look at the write-ins on that district, it appears he was written in for most offices. Board of Freeholders, county committee, counsel, sheriff, county clerk,” Melfi told Politico.

Gerdes has already taken advantage of his newfound power by attending a meeting, according to the original Reddit post.

In a comment on the post, he writes, “The meeting was about 30 minutes long. It was kind of fun too. I want to do more. By the way, my election was official.”

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