Which John Kerry ran for president?

When John F. Kerry was running for president this year, it was noted more than once he had the same initials as another famous Democrat – JFK.

But according to election documents filed in Washington, it wasn’t John F. Kerry who apparently ran for president, and was awarded 31 electoral votes from New York.

It was John L. Kerry.

New York’s electoral certificate lists John L. Kerry, not John F. Kerry

What does the “L” stand for? Leader? Loser? Liar? Lurch? That’s anyone’s guess.

But officials in New York mistakenly typed the wrong middle initial for the presidential candidate on the state’s Certificate of Vote, used to certify the results for the presidential race.

“The ballots were correct, but for some reason with this document when it was typed up, nobody caught it in the proofing, including myself,” Peter Constantakes, spokesman for the New York Department of State, told the Associated Press.

Today’s New York Sun notes, “The snafu once again makes Albany look like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, but it is not expected to have any effect on the outcome of the presidential election.”

Michael White, director of legal affairs and policy at the Federal Register, told the Sun, “Congress has its own jurisdiction in this. They can make as little or as much of this as they choose to. It’ll be up to them to decide whether this is something that truly reflects on the intent of the electors or the validity of the certificates.”

“There are always little quirks that occur,” he added. “I cannot remember that there was a typo in the name, but variations in the name are extremely common.”

New York officials said they’d be shipping corrected documents immediately to the nation’s capital to meet today’s deadline.

According to the National Archives and Records Administration, “The president of the Senate and the Archivist should have the electoral votes in hand by Dec. 22, 2004 (States face no legal penalty for failure to comply). If votes are lost or delayed, the Archivist may take extraordinary measures to retrieve duplicate originals.”

In Minnesota, a potentially more serious error took place, where a presidential elector cast a ballot for Sen. John Edwards for both president and vice president. That would reduce Kerry’s total votes in the Electoral College by one, to 251. President Bush collected 286, more than the 270 needed to win the race.

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