Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, Write-in Candidate for Texas-22
Steven Taylor has a good roundup and analysis of the uphill fight Shelley Sekula-Gibbs is going to have as a write-in candidate for the seat formerly held by Tom DeLay.
The problem, as Paul Kiel notes, is a combination of the archane rules for counting write-in ballots and the awkwardness of the electronic system used in Texas for recording votes.
The eSlate machine does lack a keyboard, however — users roll a trackwheel to choose letters on a screen. And unfortunately for Dr. S-G, there’s no hyphen. So writing her name in is a bit of a chore. Judgments as to spelling will be made by “the counting judge,” according to Amy Mitchell, an attorney with the Texas Secretary of State’s office; such judgments tend to be lenient — basically, if it “looks like” the name, it’s counted as the name. Serious write-in candidates often lead to recounts, she said. Misspellings may well be the hanging chad of this election season.
Keep in mind that control of Congress may well hinge on this race. Which means the direction of the country could rest on whether or not enough Texas Republicans can remember a 20-letter hyphenated name and spell it using an awkward trackwheel device.
I certainly wouldn’t take those odds.
If your name is “Shelley Sekula-Gibbs” and you’re running as a write-in candidate, I would submit that you’ve proven you lack the necessary judgment to hold public office. Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to run as “Shelley Gibbs”? (Ideally, as “Shelly Gibbs,” but one can understand not wanting to undo one’s parents’ unfortunate spelling at that stage of life.)
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