Thursday, September 20, 2007

Taser-free, OJ-free, postpourri

-- Yesterday I spent some time on a conference call with legal and election activists around the country regarding the concern about provisional ballots. The Fair Elections Legal Network sponsored the call, and the conversation was deep in the minutia of HAVA, the myriad of methods provisional ballots are distributed, assembled, assessed and counted, the necessity for effective poll worker training, even the political culture from state to state (some places -- Texas and Harris County not so much -- actually believe that citizens have an ironclad right not just to vote, but to have their votes counted accurately).

I'll spare the details: it's too late to change much for 2008. Voters whose names are purged from the rolls, whose registrations will appear "in suspense" will only be allowed to vote provisionally, and most of those ballots won't be counted. Greg Palast says we're already six million votes in the hole, between voter caging lists, voter purging, suspense lists, and voter ID legislation.

Still not sure what we can do about it, either.

-- On a happier note, a Republican legislator in the Texas House became a Democrat yesterday. Welcome, Rep. Kirk England.

-- The's stories on the coming $800 million HISD bond election, its effects on the property tax cut, the undervaluation by the Harris County Appraisal District of both commercial and residential property for tax purposes, and other stories elsewhere have the local wild-eyed, red-assed conservatives in a froth. They scream with one voice: "VOTE NO".

Since there's so much caysh in the form of commissions for the bond lawyers at stake in the election six weeks from now, would it be too conspiracy-theorist of me to wonder if it would be worthwhile for them to hire someone to hack the vote?

-- A blogger is being sued by a hospital conglomerate in Paris, Texas. For libel. Are corporations people? Can a corporation be called to the witness stand and testify?

Can a company feel injured by the loss of esteem, reputation, or revenue?

I bet I can guess how the Texas Supreme Court will vote if the case ever reaches them: 9-0. Unless we can get Susan Criss elected in 2008, and then it will be 8-1.

-- How about a toon to tide us over until Sunday?

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