Monday, October 18, 2010

King Street Patriots = vote-suppressing thugs

Update: See? it's already happening.

Harvey Kronberg:


Behavior includes shouting misinformation, standing behind voters as they cast ballots, says TDP's general counsel

In a conference call with members of the press, Texas Democratic Party general counsel Chad Dunn said the Party is receiving on the first day of early voting reports of King Street Patriots intimidating voters at the polls.

Dunn was talking to reporters to share more details on the TDP’s decision to expand a lawsuit against the Green Party to include allegations that the King Street Patriots are operating as an unregistered political committee to benefit GOP candidates.



In separate actions, Texas Democrats and campaign watchdogs Texans for Public Justice claim that the Tea Party affiliated group is operating as unregistered political committee

A campaign watchdog group and the Texas Democratic Party both took action today targeting the Houston-area Tea Party affiliated King Street Patriots. In their separate actions, both groups allege that the King Street Patriots are operating as an unregistered political action committee through its advocacy of conservative candidates and recruitment of poll watchers.

The watchdog group Texans for Public Justice filed a formal complaint with the Texas Ethics Commission while the TDP is amending a lawsuit originally aimed at the Green Party’s efforts to access the ballot this year to include the King Street Patriots’ activities.

From the press release:

The King Street Patriots and KSP/True the Vote are Houston-based non-profit corporations affiliated with the “tea party” movement. TPJ alleges the corporations have used their corporate resources to coordinate and recruit poll watchers on behalf of the Harris County Republican Party. The King Street Patriots sponsored a number of “get to know the candidates” events where just one Republican candidate was invited to attend and promote his or her election. Texas law requires that all candidates for an office be invited to participate in such corporate sponsored candidate events. The Patriots website has promoted block-walking activities to “spread the word on great conservative candidates.” Clarifying who these candidates are, the website listed a number of Houston-area candidates, all of them Republicans.

The KSP/True the Vote group is organizing to stop “widespread voter fraud” in Harris County. A controversial, hyperbolic, 8-minute video on its website features white speakers bemoaning alleged voter fraud. The speakers’ proclaim: “Our voting system is under attack! Voter fraud is helping the Democratic Party! Elections are being manipulated by the radical left! It’s all very, very scary. The fraud is very widespread. This is war!” As a narrator on the video says, “Its people who want to vote twice,” the video shows what appears to be an electoral queue of mostly minority voters. True the Vote leader, Catherine Englebrecht says in the video that the group wants to recruit five poll watchers for every precinct in the county. (The True the Vote video is here:

“The Patriots are breaking the law,” said Texans for Public Justice Director Craig McDonald. “A non-profit cannot legally spend its corporate resources to be an arm of the Republican Party. Sadly, you can use racial fear to recruit white voters to try to suppress minority voting. But a non-profit corporation cannot do so on behalf of a political party and its candidates.”

Savvy Brains readers will note that they read about this story here last week, citing liberally from Patrick Brendel's reporting at the American Independent.

I believe at this point that only a restraining order by a state judge commanding the KSP criminals from ceasing their illegal activity will prevent widespread conflict at polling places in Harris County. Since early voting began today, the potential for KSP criminal activity remains high, now through Election Day.

Again, if anyone tries to prevent you from voting by challenging your voter registration card or identification, ask to speak only to the election judge for clarification. Be reminded of the requirements for voting from Hector DeLeon at the Harris County Clerk's office, by way of Mary Benton's fine blog "On the Beat":

To vote, a person may present one of the following documents: a voter registration card, a driver’s license, a picture identification of any kind, a birth certificate, a U.S. Citizenship or Naturalization certificate, a U.S passport, a copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck, or other government document that shows the name and address of the voter. First time voters who registered by mail and did not provide their driver’s license number or identification number will need to provide another form of identification other than their voter registration certificate. 

And if anyone challenges your voting credentials, or otherwise attempts to stop you, at any time before you reach the clerk's table at your polling place, call 911 and report their illegal, intimidating, harassing activity to the proper legal authority.

Update II: The Houston Politics blog at the Chron has their story posted.  And Matt Angle at the LSP:

"The King Street Patriots is not a legitimate nonpartisan or nonprofit organization. It is the most extreme and intolerant arm of the Harris County Republican Party. "

"King Street allies like Republican State Representative Dwayne Bohac are already under investigation by the Public Integrity Unit of the U.S. Justice Department for improper campaign activity. Bohac and King Street extremists work to harass, intimidate and suppress voters rather than reason with or win their votes."

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