January 13, 2006
Running everywhere, Libertarian style

A few days ago, The Red State noted that there will be a Libertarian candidate running along with Democrat Juan Garcia against incumbent Gene Seamon.

In the last contested race for this district, Gene Seaman underperformed by about 4%. In 2002 Libertarian House Races where there were 3 or more candidates, they averaged 3.34% of the vote. If you include races where they were the only challenger, they took 5.92% of the vote. In 2004, it was 2.64% and 7.79% respectively.

More specifically, Seaman won with 53.35% of the vote in 2002. If a Lib candidate can pull about 3% and most of it comes at Seaman's expense, you've got yourself a really tight race there. Something to keep an eye on, that's for sure.

Overall, this is a banner year for the Libertarian Party of Texas, at least in terms of ballot coverage.

A record 187 candidates have filed with the Libertarian Party of Texas to run this year for federal, state and district offices across Texas, party officials said.

That surpasses the mark of 110 candidates in 2002 and doesn't include Libertarians who have filed for county-level offices.

Libertarians have filed to run in 30 of the state's 32 congressional districts, 11 of the 16 state Senate districts and 97 of the 150 Texas House districts. Libertarians also have filed to run for all statewide elected offices except presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Here's a full list of those candidates. Some other potentially close districts that will feature a Lib candidate on the ballot:

HD11 - Hopson (D)
HD12 - McReynolds (D)
HD17 - R Cook (D)
HD32 - Seaman (R)
HD35 - Gonzales Toureilles (D)
HD45 - Rose (D)
HD47 - Open (R)
HD48 - Open (R, for now)
HD50 - Strama (D)
HD69 - Farabee (D)
HD85 - Open (D)
HD93 - Goodman (R)
HD102 - Goolsby (R)
HD106 - Open (R)
HD118 - Open (D)
HD133 - Open (R)
HD134 - Wong (R)
HD149 - Vo (D)

While I do think that a Lib candidate is more likely to pull voters from an incumbent Republican than a challenger Democrat, I'm not so sure that this is true for a Republican challenger to an incumbent Democrat. As such, I'm not going to make any broad statements about what effect the Lib candidates may have in these or any other contested races. I think this is bad news for Seaman, just as I think it was good news for Mark Strama in 2004 when he took out first-term GOP Rep. Jack Stick, but it's all pretty fuzzy. Worth watching, but fuzzy.

Finally, the true Lucky Duckies who have no primary or general opponents at all, not even a Libertarian:

HD21 - Ritter (D)
HD30 - Morrison (R)
HD40 - Pena (D)
HD41 - Gonzales (D)
HD44 - Kuempel (R)
HD56 - Anderson (R)
HD67 - Madden (R)
HD74 - Gallego (D)
HD77 - Moreno (D)
HD80 - King (D)
HD82 - Craddick (R)
HD92 - T Smith (R)
HD115 - Jackson (R)
HD119 - Puente (D)
HD128 - W Smith (R)
HD135 - Elkins (R)

Sixteen out of 150, or a smidge more than 10%. Not too bad from a pure democracy standpoint, I suppose.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 13, 2006 to Election 2006 | TrackBack

I called the Lib Party and they have officially filed 218 candidates in Texas races.

Posted by: Eddie R. on January 13, 2006 11:35 AM

We get newsletters from the national Libertarian Party as well as the local one and there's been a really big push to make sure that they get more candidates on the ballot in the upcoming elections.

Meanwhile, we've had two Republicans come knocking on our door in the past week -- Joe Nixon and Barbara Larson. I didn't open the door when Larson came by; I wasn't in the mood to talk to anybody at the moment. Nixon seems like a nice guy, but I'm still not voting for him.

Posted by: Sue on January 13, 2006 12:02 PM

Good for you for noticing the Libertarian strategy. In Austin, word is this is the brainchild of a certain Democratic consultant. Whatever, it has the GOP nervous because they never saw it coming.

Posted by: dd on January 13, 2006 3:42 PM

Even Ron Paul has a Libertarian opponent. Wild.

Posted by: Jim D on January 13, 2006 6:12 PM

I'd love to know which Austin consultant that is. Havn't heard that one, though I know of a certain one that makes a point of urging libertarians to run in the Austin districts where it will help Ds win. If only there had been a Lib in the Baxter race 2 years ago.

Posted by: Karl-T on January 14, 2006 5:46 AM

If I had to guess:

The effect (and number of votes) for Libertarians might be different between those counties that have and those that do not have electronic voting equipment. You should compare those results also. My guess would be that Libertarian votes would be smaller in number and draw more from Republicans in counties without voting machines.

As people hear more and more about GOP corruption, Republicans are and will be polling in lower numbers (unless over sampled). Even with their own electronic voting machines, Republicans cannot create a story that would convincingly account for a win by themselves (you can only use the fundamentalists surge story once or twice. Though again, if I had to guess, my guess is that they (polls, pols, media, even some academics) for some years have been very slippery with the number of Hispanic votes on purpose, for use as their GOP surge story). In order to win even with their own non-evidentiary voting machines without too much suspicion, they would need other candidates (Libertarians would do) to supposedly siphon Democratic votes, just like DeLay’s tactic with Kinky Friedman.

from: Burnt Orange Report http://www.burntorangereport.com/...

Delay's Attorney is a Kinky Campaign Adviser
By Phillip Martin
Here's something interesting: a campaign adviser for Kinky Friedman also happens to be Tom Delay's attorney.

That is unless Ronnie Earle subpoenas testimony from electronic voting machine vendors and others which should cause the non-evidentiary machines to be tossed out.

In machineless counties, in close elections, Libertarians may well have a Perot effect, helping Democrats. And if any Libertarians are running as the only challenger to GOP, the Libertarian should get all Democratic and some Republican votes.

Toward that end:

For Libertarians:
Thank you for Ohio’s court case concerning the voting machines and vendor and GOP behavior in the 2004 election. You took action to protect democracy. The case comes up I think in September 2006. Should be very, very interesting. Thank you Libertarians and Greens and Democrats.

For All:
Just in case we can help out.


Posted on Friday, January 06, 2006 - 10:23 am: ________________________________________

Grab your video camera and catch vendors and public officials in the act of being themselves -- the good, the bad and the shameless.

It is important for all American citizens to re-learn how to act independently of any organization. This is the best way for true citizen oversight to become a national habit.

There can be nothing more daunting to any corrupt public official than an autonomous ordinary citizen with all-American ingenuity. Take courage. The truth is you do not need any group, coalition, master plan or agenda. You can do this thing and Black Box Voting will be there with encouragement and guidance if ever you should need it.

How To:
more tips, see this link http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/73/15745.html

- Start now, and keep it up as often as you can on the road to Election 2006
- Keep your battery charged
- Keep extra blank tapes available

Videos are like an American Express card and a box o' chocolates

Don't leave home without it, because you never know what you're gonna get.

Throughout the 2006 Election Cycle, capture any part of:

-- public meetings
-- certification hearings
-- testing
-- ballot preparation
-- election-related activities by third-party vendors
-- any meetings you are able to schedule with vendors or public officials
-- early voting procedures
-- election training activities
-- pre-election equipment and materials transport and handling
-- voting day activities
-- VOTE COUNTING (all phases including videotaping chain of custody)
-- "depots" and drop-off sites
-- "spot check audits"
-- absentee ballot processing
-- mid-election and post-election equipment and materials transport and handling
-- explanations policies and procedures
-- explanations of any "glitches"
-- post-election canvassing meetings
-- any obstructive behavior, intimidation tactics, evasive or nonresponsive actions

General tips:
- The goal is to get public officials and vendors on record by asking the right questions and observing what they do.
- Show others what good public servants look like, and document the difficult ones.
- Especially for meetings, prepare ahead of time by writing questions designed to elicit definitive answers regarding voting procedures.
-- Avoid over-general questions that lead to speeches, evasion and nonresponsiveness.
- If you happen to capture something that has evidentiary value (which happens more often than you think), be prepared to execute a formal affidavit and/or testify if needed.

Examples of situations where video cameras were unexpectedly important:
- Volusia County garbage altercation (http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/2197/6737.html)
- Vendor statements/misrepresentations to public officials (http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/2197/14298.html)
- Confession of violating state recount law in Ohio (in the prosecutor's hands)
- Careless or non-observable handling of voting machines, memory cards or election materials (http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/2197/14299.html)

All of the above examples now constitute evidence that can stand up in a court of law to hold vendors and officials accountable.

Why this is so important

We have heard that "once this problem is solved" people can "all go home again." The truth is, you can never go home again. You should never again cede your oversight to public officials, vendors, scientists, or even any voting rights group. Freedom carries a great responsibility, and it turns out that "We the People" means YOU!

More help:
For personal mentoring on specific situations, go to our 1 on 1 Consulting Area (http://www.bbvforums.org/forums/messages/73/73.html)

"A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead

A "small group" can be one person. We want this to be an equal opportunity project with YOU, the citizen, in charge of your own inspirations. You can upload your video on the new "Google Videos" service, or your Web site. You can send links to Black Box Voting or any organization.

(Ronnie Earle)

Now, go capture the best and worst of America in action. Black Box Voting is not going to organize you, monitor you, direct you or take credit for your excellent actions. We trust you.

Now shoo. Go!

More great tips, contributed by Daniel D., a documentary film producer:


I've forwarded your "Candid America" announcement to my mailing list. I've also added the following, which you may distribute if you so choose,


Nearly everyone owns, or has access to, a camcorder. So two can play the surveillance game.... at public meetings and demonstrations, and in keeping our public officials and voting systems honest.

Black Box Voting is encouraging the systematic-but-decentralized use of video to gather evidence of improprieties connected with privatized voting.

With that said, it's important to know your rights when shooting photos or video in public places.

Here's a succinct guide, written by a lawyer, that provides some excellent general guidance. Download it, print it out, and keep it with your camcorder: www.krages.com/phoright.htm

Please note a couple of the reminders in the article below:

- Keep your battery charged
- Keep extra blank tapes available

a few more:

- Keep enough charged batteries available to handle the extra blank tapes! (And use the largest batteries available for your camera.)

- When shooting, keep any zooms and camera moves purposeful -- gratuitous zooming and "garden-hosing" makes the video hard to watch, and looks amateurish.

Let the subject matter guide your moves. Need to see more detail? Zoom in.

Need to include more of the environment? Zoom out.

- When in doubt, keep the zoom as wide as it will go -- this will also keep your images steadier and is more likely to catch action you'd miss when zoomed in. If you must be discreet (i.e. holding the camera casually without looking through it) keeping the zoom wide will increase your chances of catching the action.

- You'll probably be using your camera's (lousy) built-in microphone to capture audio, so if sound or words are important, stay as close to the subject as practicable under the circumstances.

- If you are forcibly discouraged from shooting video, put the lens cap on if you must, and keep the camcorder running to capture audio.

- Don't be confrontational, but whenever possible someone in the background should be ready to shoot any confrontations that may arise between you and anyone trying to prevent you from shooting. The more cameras on the scene the better.

- Learn how to make digital copies of your tapes -- never let the original tapes out of your hands. If you've captured incriminating evidence, keep your original tapes in a secure or non-obvious location.

- When you remove a recorded tape from the camcorder, be sure to write-protect the cassette immediately, to prevent its accidentally being recorded over. On Mini-DV tapes, there's a shutter on the back edge of the cassette that you slide OPEN. On 8mm/Hi-8 tapes, you slide the shutter CLOSED. On VHS tapes there's a plastic tab that you pry out and discard.

- Without fail, label each tape with the subject, the date, and your phone number, and indicate whether the tape is an original or a copy.

- If your tapes should get confiscated you may still be able to shoot low-quality MPEG video on your camcorder's memory card, if it has one (get the biggest card you can afford). This may be better than nothing.

- Get familiar with your camera and practice its use beforehand. In the heat of battle there will be little opportunity to read the manual! Too much trouble? Weigh the tradeoffs, then decide.

Posted by: Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on January 14, 2006 2:44 PM

It amazes me that Libertarians have managed to retain their ballot line in Texas, given that their candidates almost never get more than one or two percent of the vote. (I don't have a problem with it; I just find it amazing.)

If a race is close, I could see the Libertarians having an effect. But there's no way to know just what that effect would be - I could see either a disaffected Democrat or a disaffected Republican voting Libertarian to spite their candidate.

Posted by: Mathwiz on January 16, 2006 1:10 PM