Mark the Ballot on Pop Issues of Today By Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press June 24, 2005 With the mood turning nasty in Washington, it's no wonder people are tired of politics as usual. So how about politics as unusual? Forget the partisan bickering for a moment and cast your vote in these pop culture elections. The Greatest American The ballot buzz: It's down to five nominees on the Discovery Channel special series: Benjamin Franklin, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and George Washington. The outcome could have been a lot more controversial, especially considering the 100 nominees on the original list ranged from filmmaker Michael Moore to quarterback Brett Favre. Still, we'll miss some names from the top 25 who didn't make the final cut. Oprah and Elvis? You'll always be the greatest. How to vote: Go to www.discovery.com. The winner will be revealed during Sunday's live finale at 9 p.m. on Discovery. The Hottest U.S. Senator (slim pickins' here!) The ballot buzz: A Web poll is out to determine which senator is the majority leader in the looks department. So far, the candidates are narrowed down to Robert Byrd of West Virginia, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Evan Bayh of Indiana and Joe Biden of Delaware. Barack Obama of Illinois was left off the ballot because his "extreme hotness" would be an unfair advantage. Michigan's Carl Levin didn't do too shabbily. He got at least one write-in vote, plus the endorsement of irreverent Beltway blogger Wonkette. How to vote: Go to www.hottestussenator.com by Monday to vote before the field is narrowed to two. http://www.freep.com/features/living/hinds24e_20050624.htm If you're interested in voting for "The Greatest American", here are the toll-free numbers: Lincoln 1-866-669-3118 Reagan 1-866-669-3120 Washington 1-866-669-3123 Franklin 1-866-669-3110 King, Jr. 1-866-669-3116 The winner will be announced on the Discovery Channel at 9 p.m. tomorrow evening.