Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Vote Count Suspect in 4th Congressional District, TX

Update, Wednesday a.m.: County Clerk Wilma Bush claims she was only doing her job, as of this morning. And there is now a print version of the story.

The oil wars that began in the '50's in North Texas are continuing at the polls. Big Oil supporter Rep. Ralph Hall is the object of a lot of love from the oil industry, and many voting quirks have turned up in this district. 4th Congressional District of Texas investigation by the Democratic Committee found at a time not long ago over 1,000 voters registered at a parking place in an RV park.

Several judgeships have turned over from Dem to right wing with a big push from local evangelicals, after the Clinton scandal made morals into their major concern. Of course, judicial excellence is not a concern when it's all about abortions.

The election just ended, that pitted Dr. Glenn Melançon, history professor, against Rep. Ralph Hall, big oil representative, ended last night. Pollwatchers were not allowed to observe the vote count. As the usual pollwatchers moved to enter the usual area where votes are counted, Republican officials had then removed while saying it was no big deal, and that papers had not been filled out properly by the Democratic pollwatchers. These are Democratic officials who have always been present. At the end of the count, the popular, incumbent, Democratic Justice of the Peace Greg Middents was reported to have lost by about 100 votes. Dr. Melançon noted to me in a phone conversation that it was also suspicious to have vote throughout the area consistent in its margins in contested races.

The action is being contested, but needless to say for now the right wing has won. The account of the proceedings against fair voting was shown on KTEN-TV this a.m., but as yet nothing has appeared in print. Dr. Melançon told me that the local paper had a reporter on the scene, but as yet nothing has been written about the incident. It would not be unusual for nothing unfavorable about these representatives of corporate interests to be reported, however.

The voting machines are a subject of controversy for Democratic candidates as well, and the Republican controlled voting officials refuse to allow a paper trail. As Dr. Melançon and I agreed this afternoon, there is no reason with technology so readily able to provide one for not having a paper trail, except that it would provide proof of falsified voter information.

Collin County is part of the redistricted voting area. During the leadup to this election, new registrants were asked to produced other i.d. than that required by law.

Pathetic poll problems

The right to vote is very special, so it is extremely disconcerting to hear that some poll workers don't know the rules or have made up their own. This happened during early voting in Collin County when some workers demanded more identification than the law requires. If a person doesn't have a voter ID card, then a driver's license or another picture ID often will suffice. Absent that, poll workers should accept government correspondence or other private documents, like a bank statement or current utility bill. The point is to work with people and get them into the voting booth, not keep them out.

The party that opposes the public interest is naturally going to have to lie, as it is not compounding a record that it can run on. Winning elections honestly becomes impossible if opposition to the voters is your raison d'etre.

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