“In 2008, the Texas Democratic Party was forced to take legal action in Federal Court to protect Harris County voters from the inappropriate, partisan actions of former Voter Registrar Paul Bettencourt, whose office rejected tens of thousands of legitimate voter registration applications.
“When Leo Vasquez took office following Bettencourt’s sudden resignation after the 2008 election, he defended his predecessor’s actions. However, when the Texas Democratic Party presented the Court evidence of the serious misdeeds in the Harris County voter registration office, Vasquez ultimately agreed to a settlement, providing hope that those inappropriate practices had come to an end.
“Unfortunately, we believe Leo Vasquez violated the terms of our agreement last week, based on statements and information he distributed at a press conference that resembled a political pep rally. At that event, Vasquez made reckless accusations against a non-partisan organization based on a “review” of voter registration applications conducted by a group called “True the Vote.” In order to conduct such a review, Vasquez apparently provided the group access to the same applications he refused to provide the Texas Democratic Party last year, when he argued in Federal Court that such documents contained confidential information such as date of birth.
The DOJ is going to have to get involved down here.
“All Harris County residents should be deeply disturbed by how easily this office disregards election law and federal court orders and by how casually they distribute voters’ confidential information. Just last year, well-documented reports revealed that deputy voter registrar Ed Johnson was selling driver’s license information to Republican candidates as part of an illicit side-business with Republican state representative Dwayne Bohac.
“Given Mr. Vasquez’ actions last week, we have been forced to take legal action to make sure his office does not repeat the same kind of practices that denied almost 70,000 Harris County citizens the right to register and vote in 2008.”
Vasquez does have a response, but it isn't very calm or measured ...
“Houston Votes has taken off its non-partisan mask by sending in the Democratic Party machinery to fight its losing battle. They can’t deny the evidence this Office has put forward of their misdeeds; so, they try to divert attention by once again slandering this Office again.
“The Tax Office has, per the law, fully and completely processed each and every application that has been submitted to it, even those that evidence obvious questionability. It is our duty to refer that questionable work over to law enforcement.
“It is the Texas Democratic Party that is making reckless and baseless allegations. No third party group has been granted access to any confidential information of any voter outside of legal open records requests available to any citizen. We continue to zealously guard voter data.
“The Tax Office met today with representatives of the Democratic Party to discuss their concerns. However, the Democrats were not interested in discussing actual facts. As we have seen in the past, their lawsuit is just about political posturing.
John has called for Vasquez to step down. I concur.