Though Senator Bernie Sanders may not have been on the ballot on election day, voters in Vermont and New Hampshire (and likely other places as well) still found a way to cast their vote for the progressive champion.

According to data recently released by Vermont election officials, Senator Sanders received so many write-in votes that it beat out legitimate ballots cast for both third-party candidates Libertarian Gary Johnson and Green Jill Stein. All told, Bernie received 18,218 votes in his home state of Vermont.

Considering Stein was eager to sweep the entire progressive audience, no doubt her campaign would be discouraged to learn that she was beaten by the man whose votes she tried to scalp. Of course, competition is certainly stiff in the state that Sanders represents – if only the rest of the nation were as passionate about progress as Vermont!

In New Hampshire, Senator Sanders received 4,500 votes – a respectable figure, though he fell short of Stein in that case.

With Sanders receiving so many write-in votes from dedicated supporters, one can’t help but wonder how many the progressive champion might have gotten if his name had been featured on every ballot. Of course, Republican opposition would have been swift and cruel  – Bernie is not without his own political skeletons.

Either way, this purely grassroots support for the Senator is no doubt an encouragement of the principles he stands for and the progress he still hopes to make.

P.S. If you’d like to see the long and hilarious list of other write-in votes that the people of Vermont were so kind to provide, head over to the Washinton Post. Here’s a spoiler: Both Bill Nye and the Pope got two votes, while Hulk Hogan, Jack Daniels, and Jesus Christ only received one each.

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Sydney Robinson is a political writer for the Ring of Fire Network. She has also appeared in political news videos for Ring of Fire. Sydney has a degree in English Literature from the University of West Florida, and has an active interest in politics, social justice, and environmental issues. She would love to hear from you on Twitter @SydneyMkay or via email at srobinson@ringoffireradio.com