Scott Markle, the president of the Carroll Democratic Club whose investigation by the county drug task force became a hot topic in the final days of the bitter race for county state's attorney, was the third highest vote-getter in the contest.
The 29-year-old Taneytown resident received 15 write-in votes.
Markle trailed winner Thomas E. Hickman -- the man who released police reports about the investigation to the press -- by 16,176 votes.
Democratic challenger Jerry F. Barnes, who defended Markle in the investigation, led Markle by 15,572.
But even though 15 votes does not a state's attorney make, Markle said he was pleased.
"I thought it was really something," said Markle, who maintains that police officers threatened to ruin him if he didn't give them information on Democrats using drugs. "I heard there was somebody out there in the polls campaigning for me."
And while Markle's name was proposed more than anyone else's on the 60 write-in ballots, just released last week, there were more creative entries.
If at least one county voter had his or her way, the newly elected state's attorney might greet a legal victory by exclaiming, "Cowabunga, dude!" That's right, one voter in the Nov. 6 election -- presumably one who did not approve of Hickman and Barnes -- thought cartoon character Bart Simpson was the best, uh, man for the job.
Other fictional characters received votes. Perennial favorite Mickey Mouse garnered six to edge Senior Assistant State's Attorney Edward Ulsch.
Some voters apparently were not sure for whom to cast ballots.
"Anybody else" and "Neither one" each received two votes. "None of the above" came in at three votes, while "Someone with sense" won a single vote, county Board of Elections officials said.
Other vote-getters of interest were Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill, who received three votes. Deceased CBS television magnate William S. Paley received one vote, as did Robert Myers, the Silver Run man convicted of hiring a hit man to murder his wife.
Unofficial totals show that while 127 voters punched the space for write-in candidates, only 60 filled in the names, elections board officials said.
The races for state Senate and Circuit Court judge had the second- and third-highest numbers of write-in votes.
Sharon Hornberger, the unsuccessful Republican candidate in the primary, received 16 write-in votes. Other write-in candidates for the state Senate included Minnie Mouse, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Republican Central Committee member Joe Getty.
Circuit Judge Raymond E. Beck was up for a retention vote and was unopposed. Write-in candidates in that election included District Judge Donald Smith and Sheriff-elect John Brown.
Meanwhile, with absentee ballots counted in the Board of Education race, Ann M. Ballard maintained her narrow margin over incumbent Robert L.
Ballard, a Mount Airy housewife and a former vice president and president of the Mount Airy PTA, garnered 13,772 votes, while Fletcher, a logistics specialist for Westinghouse Electric Corp., collected 13,757.
The close of the general election showed Ballard with a 13-vote edge over Fletcher, who was seeking his third six-year term. The deadline for absentee ballots to be returned was Friday.
Ballard will join Joseph D. Mish Jr., a retired county teacher, on the five-member board. School board President T. Edward Lippy chose not to seek re-election.
"I'll work hard and do everything I can," Ballard said. "I appreciate the vote of confidence."
Overall, Mish was the top vote-getter with 15,429 votes. C. Michael Fitzgerald, a Westminster insurance appraiser, finished last with 9,521 votes.
Approximately 50 ballots were mailed, but only a handful were returned, Board of Elections officials said.
Ballard said her immediate plans on the board are to "sit back and learn."
"I don't want to go in and start off like I know everything," she said.
"I certainly know what I would like on the agenda -- more teachers in the classroom and fewer students per teacher. That would be my push for this year."
Fletcher, a Westminster resident, could not be reached for comment.