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How to write in Lorenzo Sadun for District 10

If you live in Austin or anywhere between Austin and Houston, double-check your voter registration card to see what congressional district you are in. Surprise! All the Doggett signs in your neighborhood may have lulled you into thinking that you were still in district 25, but you could easily be in district 10, one of the ones so badly gerrymandered by Tom DeLay that the Democrats didn't even bother to run a candidate in the spring primaries. (Don't have your card handy? You can also find out what district you are in from the Texas Who represents me? site.)

Texas District 10 voter registration card

Not all Democrats want to roll over and play dead for Tom DeLay, though. Lorenzo Sadun, a UT prof and long-time progressive activist, is running an underdog campaign as a write-in candidate for district 10. You can tell Tom DeLay (and the Democratic Party hierarchy) that you don't want Texas to be a banana-republic single-party state by writing in his name on November 2nd.

Unfortunately, thanks to the lovely e-Slate voting machines in use in Travis and Harris counties, write-in voting is not entirely straightforward. Here are the write-in instructions from Sadun's website:

1. Click on "write in candidate." You will be taken to a screen where the alphabet is laid out.
2. Turn the wheel to spell out SADUN, one letter at a time, and then click on "accept."

If voting a straight Democratic ticket, you must ALSO go to "Congressional District 10" and follow these directions in order to cast a vote for Sadun. (Writing in Sadun will NOT cancel the rest of your straight-party vote.)

No one expects Sadun to win in a district tailor-made by Tom DeLay to be safe for Republicans, but at least a strong showing by Sadun may convince the Democrats to field a candidate next time.

By the way, my Green Party friends tell me there's some confusion about how to write in their candidates for President and Vice President. The official list of write-in candidates in the voting booth shows them as "DAVID KEITH COBB/PATRICIA LAMARCHE" even though the e-Slate machine (1) doesn't have a slash character and (2) doesn't have room for both of their names. I called the Travis County voting office and confirmed that, as with Lorenzo Sadun, a single last name is enough: if you write in "COBB" it will count for David Cobb and Patricia LaMarche.

And in other e-Slate news, "user error" caused by e-Slate's poor design resulted in some early voters voting for Bush yesterday when they meant to vote a straight Democratic ticket. E-mail and KUT's John Aielli quickly spread rumors about the problem; your mailbox is probably filling up with them as I type this. Election officials were quick to blame the voters and assure us that the problem was not due to tampering. Reportedly the problem is caused by the fact that straight-party voters have to go through extra gyrations to also vote on the commuter rail referendum (how do I love thee, e-Slate? let me count the ways). Here is the News 8 and Statesman coverage (use BugMeNot to get into the latter). I'm sure there'll be more info at Burnt Orange Report and the Chronicle soon.

causes 2004.10.23 link


You know -- why is there an official write-in list, anyway? If you'll put somebody on the write-in list, why not put them on the ballot?

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.10.23
Prentiss, I asked this question only yesterday (when thinking about Sadun's candidacy as a write-in).

Jonathan Horak [jonathan cxe anotherpointless punkto com] • 2004.10.23
I'm concerned that the coverage I've seen of the voting problem issue tries to set it up as a user error versus evil shenanigans issue. Well, no. In fact, I'm concerned that it is an interface design issue. That is, after all, a significant concern. Butterfly ballots, anybody?

I'm also concerned that in the effort to quell the rumors, people are saying, "Stay calm, all is well." (Visions of Kevin Bacon in Animal House, anybody?) Well, no, all is not well. Even though it may not have been a machine error, there is still cause for concern about unauditable voting equipment.

chip [chip cxe unicom punkto com] • 2004.10.23
I voted on the first day and the eSlate was fine for me. I voted straight party, dialed in Sadun, voted on commuter rail, and reviewed my votes --- all ok and straight forward.

just_a_voter • 2004.10.23
Chip: You're absolutely right, there are a number of different problems with these machines, and it's not helpful for either their critics or their defenders to mix them up. The machines could be (a) hackable, (b) buggy, (c) inauditable , (d) prone to user interface problems, or (e) any combination of the above. In fact we know they're (c) and now we're learning that they're (d). How badly they suffer from (a) and (b) is still under discussion.

And Just_a_Voter, the e-Slate machines may work fine for more sophisticated voters. They may even work fine for 99% of voters. But if they cause avoidable problems for the other 1%, then in a close race their interface problems could decide the election. Again, think butterfly ballots.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.10.23
This is why they have the summary page at the end! Be sure and check to see if what you thought you voted for you really did. THEN hit cast ballot. I was at the booth a few minutes confirming that my votes were correct.

But I've been using the eSlate since they started them out a couple years ago.

elizabeth [newsyoucanuseornot cxe gmail punkto com] • 2004.10.25
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