DOJ FIGHTS TO PROTECT TEXAS VOTERS,By Louise Annarino,July 9, 2012

9 Jul

DOJ FIGHTS TO PROTECT TEXAS VOTERS, by Louise Annarino, July 9, 2012

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” … Thomas Paine

For over 20 years I worked the polls, taking a vacation day off work to help others vote. I considered it a civic duty. When I moved to Upper Arlington from Athens I started at the bottom again, sent from neighborhood to neighborhood to fill-in as needed. Within a few years I was posted to my own precinct, a republican precinct. The presiding judge was therefore  Republican. I had been a presiding judge when posted in Democratic precincts because as an attorney, and after so many years working polls, I understood the ins and outs of election law. I recognized many of the voters. In primaries, they self-identified as Democratic or Republican voters in order to vote in their party primary. The republican judge consistently refused to issue provisional ballots, make name changes or address changes, or redirect voters to proper voting location to Democratic voters. When I intervened to do so I was told only she had authority to do so. I reminded her of the law, ignored her directive, and proceeded to assure every voter was helped to cast a valid vote within state and county guidelines.

She repeated this behavior at the following election. I reported our disagreements in our problem reporting booklet, for each voter she attempted to disenfranchise. I wanted a record indicating the validity of the voter’s right to cast a vote, and the need for my intervention to assure that vote was counted. Later, I discussed this presiding judge’s behavior with the Board of Elections trainer. She promised to look into the matter. Nothing changed. Following the next election, I not only documented the problem within the reporting problems booklet, I also wrote a letter documenting each charge against the presiding judge, and sent it to several parties, including the Board of Election and the Democratic Ward Leader who assigned me to that polling site. I called numerous times to review the matter with him. Each time he promised the matter would be looked into. The next election, there she was again, smiling at me as she told a Democratic voter  they could not vote since they had moved, instead of doing an address change and redirecting and/or allowing a provisional ballot as the situation required. She made it clear she was not going anywhere, nor was she going to change. Voter fraud by appointed or elected officials is the real threat to our democracy. This is why each polling site has persons from each party working together, to keep one another in check, and to protect voters. This is why tallies are taken throughout the day and posted in the front windows where anyone who wants to check can see what is happening. This is why exit polls are so important, to measure against the posted vote tallies.

It was in Florida 2000 that we saw so intimately how party operatives can corrupt the popular vote, when republicans delayed and challenged every vote, forcing recounts that would have gone on long after the US Supreme Court declared George Bush the winner of the Florida presidential campaign, pushing him into the White House. “The reality, therefore, is that Mr. Bush’s victory in the most fouled-up, disputed and wrenching presidential election in American history was so breathtakingly narrow that there is no way of knowing with absolute precision who got the most votes. After all, there is no perfect way to decide which disputed ballots should be counted and rejected.”(see more at http://www.nytimes.com/2001/11/12/politics/recount/12ASSE.html and http://www.factcheck.org/2008/01/the-florida-recount-of-2000/) Clearly,close elections are more easily subject to fraudulent manipulation, and less easily challenged.

This is the same year that tapeless electronic voting machines  which could be hacked and manipulated reared their ugly heads. MAnufactured by companies which poured millions of dollars into the Bush campaign. This is the type of fraud we must guard against. This is the real threat.

Everyone can agree that voter ID is not inherently wrong. But It is wrong when it disenfranchises voters; and we have a system in place to assure only qualified voters can cast votes and that only those votes will be counted. It works so well there is no evidence of meaningful voter fraud by voters. Dead persons on the rolls? Sure. Dead persons voting? No. Voter ID adds nothing to help eligible voters; it does disenfranchise eligible voters. In Texas, SB 14 requires voters to show one of short list of government-issued documents, excluding Social Security, Medicaid, or student ID cards. Gun licenses, however, are acceptable. 

Texas‘ own records estimate “a Hispanic registered voter is at least 46.5 percent, and potentially 120.0 percent, more likely than a non-Hispanic registered voter to lack this identification.The DOJ found more than 600,000 Texans will be disenfranchised, most minority voters. Social security card? older voters disenfranchised. Student ID? students disenfranchised? Medicaid card? Poor and disabled disenfranchised.

Today, Texas will defend the law against Attorney Holder’s Justice Department, claiming it is needed to prevent voter fraud. “But the San Antonio Express-News reported that fewer than five ‘illegal voting’ complaints involving voter impersonations were filed with the Texas Attorney General’s Office from the 2008 and 2010 general elections in which more than 13 million voters participated.” (see more at http://thinkprogress.org/election/2012/07/06/512245/texas-voter-id-law-which-accepts-gun-licenses-but-not-student-ids-challenged-in-court/). Texas is one of more than 2 dozen states the DOJ is investigating in order to protect the right of eligible voters to cast their ballots.

What can you do? Help neighbors, friends, relatives, and community organizations identify voters in need of ID, help them obtain the ID, update yours and their voter registration with name or address changes, then get them to the polls to vote. If the margin between candidates is small, voter fraud by officials and parties is easily manipulated. Only if the margins are fairly large can such subterfuge succeed.

Help at the polls,as a poll worker, a poll watcher. Start now and attend local Board of election meetings;let officials know we are watching them and recording their comments and activities. MAke it difficult for them to disenfranchise ANY voter.

The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University College of Law (see more at http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/truthaboutvoterfraud/) after exhaustive study has determined that voter fraud simply does not exist. Yet, an orchestrated movement to end that which does not exists has taken off thanks to a well-financed disinformation and legislative action campaign. The 2012 reelection of the scary black man is justification enough,it seems. The only believable explanation some people have for how he was elected in the first place is rampant voter fraud. These same people don’t believe racism exists despite hundreds of years of factual data; yet believe voter fraud exists despite no evidence. This movement is not about election reform. It is solely for election manipulation by denying qualified voters opposing one party’s candidates their right to vote. In evidence: Pennsylvania State Rep.Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny) listed recent GOP accomplishments during his speech to Republican Central Committee members, including this one: “Voter ID, which is going to allow Gov. Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania. Done.” See video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87NN5sdqNt8  “If you have to stop people from voting to win elections, your ideas suck,” responded Pennsylvania Sen. Daylin Leach, D-Montgomery.

We must protect every voter: Democratic, Republican, Independent, or Libertarian. We must protect all voters or no voter is protected. We do not fear the vote of our opposition. We know President Obama’s ideas  are good ones. We believe he can win this election.

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One Response to “DOJ FIGHTS TO PROTECT TEXAS VOTERS,By Louise Annarino,July 9, 2012”

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  1. Voter Suppression by Elected Republican Officials is the Real Threat to our Democracy | votebeam - July 10, 2012

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