Campaigns/Elections

How Write In Votes Work…if You're a Republican

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Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, as you might remember, didn't manage to make the ballot in her race as a Republican from Texas's 22nd House district (for complicated reasons having to do with Tom DeLay's resignation), but still managed to pull 42 percent of the vote–and to win a special election (for which she was on the ballot) to fill the seat until the real winner Nick Lampson is sworn in in January. Via Wonkette, this instructive list of names that counted as votes for her:

Voters cast their write-in ballots for, among others: Kelly Segula Gibbs, Snelly Gibbr, Schikulla Gibbs, Sheila Gibbs, Shelly Schulla Gibbs, Shelly Gibkula and, by someone who obviously never wanted the joy of using the machine to end, ShelleySkulaGibbsssss.

The absolute best one — perhaps the best political name of all time — was (we are not lying) "Shelly DraculaCunt Gibs." It counted.

Democracy works, people. It works.

The Houston Chronicle on Sekula-Gibbs' angry call for a congressional investigation of the rump DeLay staffers who all quit because they couldn't stand their temporary new boss.

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  1. So why was everyone so worried about whether the voters could spell her name correctly?

    And how, in any universe, does a write in of “Shelly DraculaCunt Gibbs” indicate the voter’s intention IN FAVOR of that candidate?

    The GOP is clearly desperate.

    Compare this to the Alabama governor’s race, where trying to get information about the write-in vote (LP candidate Loretta Nall ran an active write-in campaign) is like pulling the teeth that good-ole-boy voters don’t have.

  2. DraculaCunt would be a good name for a band.

  3. But remember, if the spot next to “Albert Gore” is marked, and the name “Al Gore” is written in on the write-in line, it is a corrupt abuse of democracy for any vote to be awarded to a candidate named “Albert Gore.”

  4. I like Cunt Dracula better but there’s probably already a porn film with that title. IP rights and all that jazz.

  5. Does DraculaCunt have hanging chad?

  6. I’m looking forward to her 7 weeks of glory.

    We are going to have so much fun.

  7. joe,

    I feel for you buddy, but wasn’t that like six years ago? Let it go.

    Don’t get me started on the Rutherford B. Hayes election.

  8. GBMD

    Ah, the good old days, when elections with stolen without court involvement.

  9. But remember, if the spot next to “Albert Gore” is marked, and the name “Al Gore” is written in on the write-in line, it is a corrupt abuse of democracy for any vote to be awarded to a candidate named “Albert Gore.”

    joe, you might have a point if they had not also rejected all the votes where voters had written in “George Bush” as well as marking the spot next to “George Bush”. Actually the only case of that the I heard of was for Bush.

    But it’s the law, and the Democrats who controlled most of Florida’s county election systems obeyed it.

    But of course that just proved what an evil genius Rove is. The way he got Democrats to steal an election for him was amazing.

  10. Of course if it had been an Indepedent or “3rd party” write-in candidate they would probably throw-out every vote off by 1 letter.

  11. I say, what about the election of 1800?

  12. You’re the one who committed all that Treason. Way to shoot Hamilton, asshole. You’re going down, BURR!

  13. I never really understood the notion that people should let misdeeds slide if they were more than 2 weeks ago, especially in regards to any Florida/Ohio/Diebold machine shenanigiens. A few weeks ago a fellow got either 2 years or 2 monthes for a sexual assault that happened in 1988. Murder has no time limit. Franklin Roosevelt felt the constitution, the document replacing the bible as the sacred tome for most (nearly all) Libertarians, as being too old and old fashioned to be of any use to the modern society of the 1940’s.

    If you worry so much about misplaced energy, please spend that energy instead of answering the afformentioned question into explaining to all of us whatever happened to worries about the Diebold machines. Have they been proven to be safe for democracy and all that tin-foil jazz? Why is most everybody so content on ignoring it now that the democrats have picked up seats?

  14. “Have they been proven to be safe for democracy and all that tin-foil jazz?”

    Of course not, but neither is any other voting/counting system we’ve used so far. I think halting elections until we develop a “tamper-proof” voting system is probably a bad idea, so we need to go forward with the least bad of the available options.

    Whether that’s electronic or paper voting I couldn’t tell you.

  15. 76: I think it’s because the Diebold worries never materialized. I’m not saying that it’s not a problem, but it’s hard to make a stink about it when the incidences of voter fraud have actually decreased since we started using electronic machines.

    Anyway, I am finding it extremely difficult to get worked up over this Shelly Sekula Gibbs thing. I mean, come on, every one of those crazy misspellings was easily recognizable as a vote for her. And the fact that she couldn’t get her name on the ballot was just another example of our arcane ballot laws that serve to keep many a libertarian & independent candidate off the ballot.

  16. Issac,
    Everyone knows GWB stole the election in FL with the help of his brother Jeb Demon-Balls Bush and Katherine Franken-twat Harris.

  17. Gimmee Back My Dog,

    “I feel for you buddy, but wasn’t that like six years ago? Let it go.” You mean, 68 years after the creation of Social Security? Why don’t you just, like, get over it?

    Isaac,

    “joe, you might have a point if…”

    I have a point, regardless. If the voter’s selection is made clear on the ballot, the government has a responsibility to count it.

    Playing dumb, and throwing out votes because Ms. Gibbs’ name was misspelled, would be a slap in the face to the voters. There certainly is a charge of hypocrisy and double standards to be made here, but not against me.

    Evan!,

    18,000 votes in the Congressional election in a Florida House district were never counted by the electronic voting machines. There is a lawsuit seeking a new election. good thing the Flordia Legislature voted down the (Democrat-sponsored) bill to require a paper trail, along party lines.

  18. Stole? Even by Gore’s own standards Bush won Florida. Or do you watch too many Michael Moore films?

  19. You mean, 68 years after the creation of Social Security? Why don’t you just, like, get over it?

    Exactly my point. I could whine about FDR’s threat to stack the SCOTUS or I could accept that that is water under the bridge and work to eliminate Soc. Sec. today.

    Just as you should worry more about the 2008 election than the 2000 one.

  20. SmellyCuntDraculaGibbs

    Now, that’s a name for a Punk Rock Band.

  21. Joe, the race between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchannan turned off a lot of voters because of its negativity. Some probably did not vote for either candidate. This was a race with only 2 candidates.

  22. Joe, the race between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchannan turned off a lot of voters because of its negativity. Some probably did not vote for either candidate. This was a race with only 2 candidates

    Nice try with the GOP talking points….but try again.

    MANY voters complained that they couldn’t even find this race on their touch-screen machines.

    Furthermore, the absentee ballots from this same district show a MUCH MUCH smaller percentage of undervotes than the machine (something like 3 percent absentees undervote vs 10+ percent undervotes for the machines)

    while it is technically within the realm of possibility that many many residents withheld their votes at a much higher rate than the absentees — it is really really unlikely. When you couple that with the fact that there were a LOT of voters who complained that they couldn’t even find this race or didn’t even have the opportunity to vote for one of these candidates — it seem much more likely that the undervotes were a problem with the machines rather than people all of a sudden deciding withhold their votes because of the negative campaigning

  23. The problem with electronic voting is simple: It doesn’t take as many people to rig an election. If you’re using machines, with paper ballots?

    Stuffing ballot boxes, rigging individual machines, getting the dead to vote, absentee ballot fraud, plain ole’ ballot fraud — it requires lots and lots of people to be effective.

    Doing it in just one precinct won’t swing an election — unless you’re so overboard that the vote totals themselves look suspicious. But if you spread it around all the precincts, then you have to involve more and more people — more chance of someone running to the papers.

    Electronic voting is different. Gain access to the servers, you can change votes across an entire district. Even a state. Gain access to the machine, even for a few moments, and you can swing a precinct. What’s worse, even if they work out someone tampered — there’s no way to determine what the real result was. And no way to tie it to you.

    It means a very few people can alter a LOT of votes in ways that could be virtually impossible to notice. Five heavy GOP precincts swinging massively democratic will lead to an investigation of ballot stuffing. Every precinct in the district coming out a point or two higher than the polling? Statistical anomoly.

    And no paper trials, no audits, no security, no way to tell.

  24. Gimme Back My Dog,

    “Just as you should worry more about the 2008 election than the 2000 one.”

    When I agitate over the failures of the electoral process in 2000 (and 2004, and 2006), I AM worrying about the 2008 (and 2010, and 2012) elections. The first step is admitting you have a problem.

    A Florida Resident,

    “Joe, the race between Christine Jennings and Vern Buchannan turned off a lot of voters because of its negativity. Some probably did not vote for either candidate. This was a race with only 2 candidates.”

    I find it less-than-convincing to suggest that voters in one particular county were “turned off” from voting in one particular race at a rate several times higher than voters in the same district but different counties.

  25. “Five heavy GOP precincts swinging massively democratic will lead to an investigation of ballot stuffing.”

    But five heavy GOP precincts swining massively even more GOP might not. Same/same for the Dems.

    That’s how they’d do it in Chicago: the districts that would normally swing 90/10 Democratic would still swing 95/5 Democratic but would end up with massive turnout numbers adding many many votes. Furthermore, if you keep doing it every election, how is someone to know what the “true” breakdown ought to look like?

    I’m sure the GOP has done the same elsewhere, but I can only speak about where I’m from.

    If we can take steps to corruption proof the government as best as possible, the problems with voter fraud will be lessened accordingly. Blaming the GOP or Dieblod or tire slashers in Wisconsin or the Chicago Machine or Katherine Harris, etc. misses the point entirely.

  26. Joe, I am shocked — shocked! — to find there is hypocrisy going on in politics!

  27. Yeah man, that 2000 election is, like, ancient history, dude. What relevance does George Bush have in the world today?

  28. Umm, well, he did win that election.

    Except for the damage that it would have done to the rule of law (such as it is, mind you) I’d’ve been just as happy if Al Gore had stolen the election. But rightly or wrongly (in a cosmic sense) the SCOTUS decided that the democrats who controlled the disputed counties shouldn’t get a chance to change unmarked ballots into votes for Gore.

  29. “unmarked ballots”

    That’s a load of crap and you know it.

    There were thousands of “overvotes” (you know, marked twice for Gore = Damn, Jeb, I don’t know what to do!) that were not counted at all.

  30. I’m outraged that the real Shelly DraculaCunt Gibs didn’t get her vote counted.

  31. joe, all the votes were counted according to the law. If you don’t mark the ballot so the machine can read it it doesn’t count. Sort of like the SATs. Babies cry for do-overs, cheats try to change the rules in the middle of the game. Grownups take the defeats and move on.

    I know it’s tough to have your guy lose, especially if you’re a true beliver who believes the fate of humanity is in the balance.

    I had no such problem since I could not have cared less which of the bozoes had won. Either way harm would have been done, people killed etc.; just different harm, different people etc. It would have been interesting to see how Gore would have justified bailing out Enron, but that’s another story and we’ll never know.

    I sometimes envy people like you that have such simpleminded faith in our ruling masters. Of course, I don’t envy the anguish you must feel when the other side’s ruling masters get into power.

    And it is kind of tough for the people like me who didn’t ask for any of this benevolent leadership to be getting it so good and hard. But we’re used too it, we’ve developed callouses, don’t you know.

  32. Oh, incidentally, joe, I only ever think about the 2000 election when people like you start whingeing about it.

    Otherwise, it’s ancient history. An event where some incompetent bureaucrats failed to meet there constitutional obligations and some opportunistic politicians tried to exploit it.

    In other words, business as usual.

  33. Back when Sen Torricelli resigned in disgrace Democrats argued that it was an affront to Democracy that there would be no Democrat candidate for Senate on the New Jersey ballot that year, that the voters needed a real choice. The Dems won in court, and got their substitute candidate.

    Fast forward to ’06, DeLay resigns (much earlier in the election cycle, mind you), the Democrats fight tooth and nail in court to keep a substitute GOP candidate off the ballot. They win their court case again.

    Maybe the GOP are being hypocritical in accepting these misspelled write-in votes. But the Dems were hypocritical in forcing the GOP to use a write-in candidate in the first place.

  34. “joe, all the votes were counted according to the law.”

    How deeply libertarian. You’re rights don’t matter; just the law. I’m sorry, you didn’t jump through the hoop correctly. I suppose we could help you out, but that’s not what we want to do.

    Do you work for the DMV, Isaac?

  35. Yea, joe, I’ll bet you just made up new rules for monopoly every time your little sister started beating you at it too.

  36. 18,000 votes in the Congressional election in a Florida House district were never counted by the electronic voting machines.

    Honest question – who runs that district? Dems or Reps?

  37. Keep in mind that in Florida the county supervisors of elections had control over which votes are counted, not the Secretay of State.

    Bush v Gore did not ask for a statewide recount of overvotes. The wanted to count undervotes in three counties.

    The overvotes did not come to light until the Miami Herald looked at ballots six months after the election.

    Plain and simple the Democrats screwed up trying to pull a fast one.

    It’s too bad really that they tried to steal the election, especially when they might have won it fair and square with a little more of the right kind of effort.

  38. Honest question – who runs that district? Dems or Reps?

    The SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS, Kathy Dent is a republican.

    So are most of the other elected officials.

  39. I’m sorry, Isaac, you didn’t post that comment on 14-weight card stock, or use blue ink, so I am forbidden from responding.

    RC,

    “Honest question – who runs that district? Dems or Reps?”

    I have no idea. Why does that matter? Would it change your opinion about what to do?

  40. See http://groups.google.com/group/soc.history.what-if/msg/5b83a7ffcde5bda7 for how the Ku Klux Klan’s candidate for mayor of Detroit in 1924 would probably have been victorious if they counted misspelled write-ins the way they do in Texas…

  41. I’m sorry, Isaac, you didn’t post that comment on 14-weight card stock, or use blue ink, so I am forbidden from responding.

    Hey, man, you don’t get to make the rules here any more than you do for Florida elections. 🙂

  42. If you worry so much about misplaced energy, please spend that energy instead of answering the afformentioned question into explaining to all of us whatever happened to worries about the Diebold machines. Have they been proven to be safe for democracy and all that tin-foil jazz? Why is most everybody so content on ignoring it now that the democrats have picked up seats?

    The problems with e-voting are now well known and are being addressed. 27 states now mandate some kind of paper trail (28 if you count Arkansas, which exempted machines already purchased), up from 7 in 2004. 12 others and DC have legislation in progress. At the federal level, HR 550 has 220 voting sponsors–a majority of the House–but none of the 25 Republicans is on the administration committee, and not enough of them have the balls to sign a discharge petition.

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