Skip to comments.In Texas, S-H-E-L-L-E-Y S-E-K-U-L-A G-I-B-B-S has a real chance to win.
Posted on 11/03/2006 2:25:16 PM PST by Stat-boy
In Texas, S-H-E-L-L-E-Y S-E-K-U-L-A G-I-B-B-S has a real chance to win. Once given up for dead, the GOP might keep Tom DeLays old seat.
By Byron York
In the 22nd District of Texas Tom DeLays old district workers for Republican write-in candidate Shelley Sekula Gibbs are handing out pamphlets that warn DONT LET NICK LAMPSON AND HIS LIBERAL DEMOCRAT ALLIES TAKE AWAY YOUR CHOICE THIS ELECTION. The handout lays out instructions for writing in Gibbss name, plus the urgent directive: REMEMBER ON TUESDAY NOVEMBER 7, VOTE FOR SHELLEY SEKULA GIBBS FOR U.S. REPRESENTATIVE TWICE!
The TWICE! part refers to the fact that, to fully support Sekula-Gibbs, people who want to vote for her have to first vote for her to finish out the last couple of months of DeLays term shes on the ballot for that and then write in her name to vote for her to be the next full-term congressperson from the district.
Thats where things get complicated. The phrase write-in is not entirely accurate in this race. In most of the precincts in the 22nd District, voters wont write anything. Instead, they will work on a machine called the Hart InterCivic Voting System in which they will be required to turn a wheel to select letters on a screen. To vote for Sekula-Gibbs, they will be required to select S-H-E-L-L-E-Y-SPACE-S-E-K-U-L-A-SPACE-G-I-B-B-S, pressing Enter after each letter or space.
It does not take a prophet to see that there will likely be some irregular entries from people trying to vote for Sekula-Gibbs. If the race is close, there will be intense fights over every variation of her name entered into the Hart InterCivic system.
What will be accepted as a legitimate vote and what wont? Texas law says only that A vote on an office or measure shall be counted if the voters intent is clearly ascertainable What that will mean in practice is not entirely clear. It seems likely that obvious misspellings of Sekula-Gibbss name will count, as will short versions like S GIBBS. On the other hand, in a close contest, Republicans and Democrats might end up fighting over every vote.
There is no requirement for the parties to be involved, but we have a board called the Early Voting Ballot Board, made up of Democrats and Republicans, says David Beirne, spokesman for the Harris County Clerks office, which covers part of Houston and is a big part of the 22nd District. Were also going to have one Democrat and one Republican review them, and the tie-breaking vote goes to the county clerk, who is an elected Republican in Harris County.
Beirne explains that officials cannot comment before Election Day about what variations on Sekula-Gibbss name will be acceptable; that would amount to giving voters guidance. So what will happen is, when officials begin counting the votes, they will go over each variation one-by-one. As each is accepted or rejected a process that will start this weekend with the examination of early votes it will be entered into the computer system to accept or kick out any identical versions of the name that show up in later counting. Even with that, Tuesday could be a long night.
What is frustrating for Republicans is that, if Sekula-Gibbss name were on the ballot, the race would be a blowout, at least according to a Houston Chronicle poll published on October 30. When the paper asked, If the election for Congress were held today and the candidates were Democrat Nick Lampson, Republican Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, and Libertarian Bob Smither [the third name on the ballot], for whom would you vote? 50 percent of those polled chose Sekula-Gibbs, versus 33 percent for Lampson and four percent for Smither. (Twelve percent said they werent sure who they would support.)
When the paper asked, If the election for Congress were held today and the candidates were Democrat Nick Lampson, Libertarian Bob Smither, and a write-in candidate, for whom would you vote? 36 percent said Lampson, versus 35 percent for the write-in candidate. (Smither again got four percent, and 25 percent said they werent sure.)
Sekula-Gibbss supporters were greatly encouraged by the poll results. At the very least, the survey showed that if the campaign can continue to tell people how to vote for Sekula-Gibbs if they can reduce that 25 percent who say theyre not sure but who might simply by the write-in issue her vote total will likely go up. Theres no reason it shouldnt; the district is clearly conservative. In the Chronicle poll, 52 percent of those surveyed described themselves as conservative or very conservative, while 14 percent described themselves as liberal or very liberal. (Twenty-nine percent called themselves moderates.)
I think people are very concerned, and they want to keep a Republican in Congress representing District 22, says Lisa Dimond, Sekula-Gibbss campaign manager. This is a very strong Republican district.
Democrats know that, too. So recently, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $50,000 on a mass-mailing in the race not to promote Lampson but to promote a minor Republican write-in candidate named Don Richardson. The mailer noted that Richardson supported tough immigration laws, the Patriot Act, and warrantless wiretapping all positions a Republican might want to vote for. Of course, doing so would take write-in votes away from Sekula-Gibbs, which was the point of the mailing. Republicans call the DCCC move desperate and a dirty trick, but worry it might succeed in splitting the write-in vote.
Still, the miracle is that this race is competitive. After all of DeLays troubles, and after the court decision that forbade the Republican party from placing Sekula-Gibbss name on the ballot, and after the technical difficulties of writing in a candidates name, not to mention the fact that Lampson has a huge fundraising advantage well, to have the race be very close, even in a Republican district, is quite an accomplishment. Now, Sekula-Gibbss supporters believe they can actually win on Election Day.
Byron York, NRs White House correspondent, is the author of the book The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President and Why Theyll Try Even Harder Next Time.
The fact that we believe we can pull out a win is our best weapon--the Dems are too confident. Just as in 2004, we're too scared of the possible, even likely outcome to not vote.
Three votes from my house...or would that be six? ;^)
Can West Texas vote?????
Count my house as 2 or 4 which ever way you look at it.
Couldn't they make it a little more difficult. What's the average age in this district? This method could present a slight problem for older voters.
You have to be dead, or Democrat.
LOL, I can't imagine what time the voting will actually ends there. If you are in line you get to vote. Talk about tempers rising. What were the absentee in this district. That might be a good sign
I'd love to vote for her, but I was gerrymandered into Ron Paul's district this time.
I held my nose and voted for him, but I wish I were still in the 22nd.
I cannot find anything about this on the net. Did Shelley commit some sort of major faux pas?
"A vote on an office or measure shall be counted if the voters intent is clearly ascertainable
Does SS Gibbs work?
My wife has been in the early voting line down the street for the past hour. She's still there. Unbelievable.
and in Ft Bend County (Sugar Land) too.
A question was ask by a reporter to a republican after Bushes visit on Oct 30th...if the write in would be a problem...he said OH COME ON WE'RE REPUBLICANS...we know what we're doing. ;o)
It's not surprising. Obviously each person going into the voting booth is going to require quite a lot of time to read the instructions, vote in two places, and work the machine to spell out "S-H-E-L-L-E-Y-SPACE-S-E-K-U-L-A-SPACE-G-I-B-B-S, pressing Enter after each letter or space."
Since people will worry about a ballot being thrown out if there is the smallest misspelling, the whole business will take a LOT of time.
Has anyone tried to enter their name into a FAX machine so it shows up when you send out a fax? It ain't easy, and it ain't quick.
Not really...thanks to the poll workers...they're there to help anyone and are all over this.
You have to stay back a certain distance from a polling place to campaign. When I voted on Tuesday, there were clearly marked signs that said "no campaigning beyond this point"
There were plenty of campaign signs near the entrance to the parking lot however. I'm sure a candidate could stand there or even work the parking lot if they wanted as long as they stayed beyond the marked limit.
Whine, whine, whine. I got moved from at least a sane Democrat (Cuellar) to the district of Lloyd Doggett.
Well...we can see this s*it comming a mile away.
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