Did you know that Brexit—the referendum cast to remove the United Kingdom from the European Union this past summer—was actually not the original Brexit?
That’s right—recently, an advisor to former UK Prime Minister David Cameron revealed to MINute that the name of Brexit was pilfered from a 1983 ballot initiative that would have allowed Brainerd and parts of Crow Wing, Cass, Itasca, and Koochiching counties to secede from the state of Minnesota in advance of joining Canada. The ballot only received 44 votes and accusations of voter fraud continue to this day; proponents of the fraud theory postulate that registered voters Steve Beaver and Janelle “Babe” Theblueox were in fact animals.
A separate ballot initiative the following year to rename Koochiching County to Vaginaching County, spearheaded by freelance journalist and part-time snowshoe repairman Martin Weiner, failed as well. Interestingly, Weiner did receive permission from his family to change his surname to Penis in 1989.