Monday, November 27, 2006

Houston Press Turkey of the Year - SSG

I saw some imaginative spellings of Shelly Something but not as weird as those Fort Bend accepted. She did get one vote for governor I know about in my precinct. It didn't count as she didn't register for that race.
Having a name like "Shelley Sekula-Gibbs" and deciding to run a write-in campaign is, in a word, genius. It called to mind the immortal jingle sung by The Simpsons' Schwarzenegger character, Rainier Wolfcastle: "Mein bratwurst has a first name, it's F-R-I-T-Z. Mein bratwurst has a second name, it's S-C-H-N-A-C-K-E-N-P-F-E-F-F-E-R-H-A-U-S-E-N."

Sekula-Gibbs took things to a whole other level, however. To produce her radio ads, she apparently had her staff scour the country to see if there were still any singing groups out there in the Mitch Miller/Lawrence Welk mode. They came through with flying colors, resulting in a jaunty little song that sounded like it was first used to sell Burma Shave back in the '40s.

All you had to do to vote for Shelley, the ads energetically explained, was spin a little dial until it reached the proper letter on a computer screen, then hit "enter," then move on to the next letter until you had spelled "Shelley Sekula-Gibbs"!! What could be easier? Remember to pack a lunch, though -- you might be in the voting booth for a while.

J.R. Perez of the Fort Bend County elections office says voters were pretty inventive in spelling Sekula-Gibbs's name. Fort Bend is only one of four counties in District 22, but the list of spellings that were accepted as write-in votes (by a bipartisan panel who ruled on voters' intent) is 28 pages long.

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 name "Sekula" was spelled as Sektula, Sukla, Sequila, Sedoko and Sedoka (by puzzle fans?), Meklua, Sekluda and Shecola.

One voter couldn't be bothered, just putting in SSG. (It counted.) Another, for some reason, entered Sekula Smith.

Another voter entered "Shelle Sekula Fibbs," which might have been a hidden political message. Not so hidden, but counted as a vote just the same, was "Shelly DraculaCunt Gibs." (We like to imagine the bipartisan discussion on that entry: "Well, they misspelled the first and last name, but that's definitely a Shelley vote.")
I think I will use the write-in spots to leave political commentary for election judges next time.

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