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In Alabama Senate race, thousands favored write-ins over Roy Moore, Doug Jones

An unusually high number of voters opted for write-ins over the Republican and Democratic choices, highlighting their humor and frustration in this election.
Image: GOP Senate Candidate Judge Roy Moore
Republican Senatorial candidate Roy Moore rides his horse, Sassy, to cast his vote at the polling location on Dec. 12, 2017 in Gallant, Alabama. In a stunning conclusion to a contest that received international attention, Democrat Doug Jones won over Moore in the deeply conservative state.Joe Raedle / Getty Images
/ Source: Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Mickey Mouse. Nick Saban. Any Other Republican.

Those were some of the names that got write-in votes in the Alabama Senate election as voters suggested their own alternatives to Sen.-elect Doug Jones and Republican Roy Moore.

An unusually high number of voters — 22,852 people, or 1.6 percent of the 1.3 million people who went to the polls — opted for a write-in candidates, sometimes showing their humor and frustration along the way. "Anyone Else," ''Neither," and "Any Other Republican" were among the written submissions.

Many of the submission were more serious as some voters followed the lead of Sen. Richard Shelby, who said he could not vote for Moore and was instead writing in the name of another Republican.

Outgoing Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to the post, but lost the GOP primary to Moore, was the top write-in candidate in a majority of counties. State election officials did not tally statewide numbers on write-in candidates, but numbers submitted by counties showed that Strange received more than 7,500 votes — roughly a third of the write-in ballots.

Related: Alabama makes Jones win official as Moore’s last-ditch challenge fails

He was followed by retired Marine Col. Lee Busby, former aide to White House chief of staff John Kelly. He was the top vote-getter in at least 10 counties.

Other names frequently listed as write-ins were Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Saban, the University of Alabama football coach.

Alabama election officials stressed ahead of the election that voters had to write-in the name of a living person in order for the vote to be tallied. That did not stop votes for Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, SpongeBob Square Pants, Ronald Reagan, Jesus and UR Mom.

Moore was dogged throughout the election by accusations of sexual misconduct with teens several decades ago when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. At least one person voted by write-in for Leigh Corfman, one of the women who first raised an allegation against Moore.

Someone else voted for Sassy, the name of the horse that Moore rides to the polls on Election Day.

Roy Moore rides his horse, Sassy, to cast his vote at the polling location on Dec. 12, 2017 in Gallant, Alabama.Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Other voters gave nods to another woman they perceived as being wronged in the world of state politics: Dianne Bentley, who divorced former Gov. Robert Bentley amid accusations that he was having an affair with an aide, got at least three write-in votes.