Friday, August 27, 2010

More on Houston Votes vs. Vasquez (and a real firestorm)

While I've been detached from the online world, Stace Medellin and Charles Kuffner and Neil Aquino have updated this week's most significant election-related story. Stace with his dos centavos first ...

Perhaps the appointed and losing candidate for Tax Assessor-Collector Leo Vasquez is doing one last favor for his Republican Party.  Yes, the same Republican Party which abandoned him for being Latino, yet, Vasquez still feels the need to stop the voter registrations of Latinos, African-Americans, the elderly and poor Whites by spreading outright lies about a voter registration group, Houston Votes.


There’s something different this time around, and that’s the use of a right-wing voter suppression group calling itself “True the Vote.”  Given their own description that they seek out “voter fraud” by placing “conservative” poll watchers at the polls is suspect in itself–reminders of the good ol’ Texas way of running polling locations where the boss is looking after the workers making sure they vote his way.


Needless to say, I find the motives of such a right-wing group suspect–they yell “fraud” whenever too many Latinos and Blacks votes, such after the 2008 election. But to find out that Vasquez allowed them to pore over applications containing voter information is something that should be investigated.

Some Off the Kuff next, cogent as always ...

Vasquez lobbed these charges at a press conference that was more political rally than anything else, as he packed the place with the sort of people who are convinced that the streets are teeming with illegal voters. You can just imagine them high-fiving and chest-bumping in the background.


It’s entirely possible that Texans Together has been sloppier than they should be. Maybe they’re not up to this task; maybe no one is. But to claim nefarious intent is quite a stretch, and I’ll be very surprised if the District Attorney, to whom Vasquez says he’s going to refer this, makes anything of it. I’m never quite sure how these schemes that Vasquez and his buddies dream about are supposed to work. Are all these people who’ve never voted before expected to show up at multiple polling places and hope nobody notices? Assuming that the bogus and duplicated registrations made it past both Vasquez and the Secretary of State, of course. Sure, that sounds bulletproof to me. I’ll bet Pat Lykos can’t wait to bring that before a jury.

I’ve also never quite understood why some people want to make it so hard for others to vote. I grew up believing that the right to vote was precious and what made democracy the best system of government there is. Apparently, that’s now a matter of partisanship. The story notes that much of the Texans Together board is made up of Democrats. Maybe that’s because the type of person who thinks it’s good for more people to vote tends to be Democratic. It’s been made quite clear in recent years that the type of person who wants to see fewer people vote tends to be Republican, that’s for sure.

And lastly a bit of Texas Liberal ...

Mr. Vasquez is working in tandem with local Tea Party groups. This despite the fact that Mr. Vasquez was defeated in the Republican primary earlier this year. At the time of his defeat, Mr. Vasquez said he felt that one of the reasons he had lost was possibly the fact he is Hispanic.

Mr. Vasquez is now in league with these bigoted so-called Tea Party Groups.

One local Tea Party group, the King Street Patriots , seems also to be offering up its resources to serve as a meeting place for a major Rick Perry for Governor event in Houston. 

The Tea Party wants change in Texas and in America so badly that they are supporting for reelection a man who has been Governor of Texas for ten years already.

It is as if the Boston Tea Party was all about keeping King George in power.


The fact is that there is not much voter fraud in Texas. 

What may well be at work here is orchestrated voter suppression and intimidation of voters.


It is a Texas Two-Step of voter suppression and intimidation. Mr. Vasquez works on the suppression while the Tea Party handles the intimidation.

I excerpted for brevity here but all three commentaries merit a full read. Their takes are clear, calm, and strike the nail solidly. Houston Votes will have their own public response later today, and coupled with the news this morning that a three-alarm fire has engulfed the building where Harris County's voting machines are warehoused, Houston appears well on its way to a most lively election season.

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