Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Son Of The Ghost Of The Zombie Of ACORN

BooMan flags down this story from the Houston Chronicle involving voter intimidation in Texas's largest county by a group calling itself "True the Vote".  Harris County's early voters in minority precincts found themselves facing a gauntlet of "concerned citizens" in order to vote. 

Last month, True the Vote alleged that the integrity of the Harris County voter roll was under attack and took credit for uncovering flawed registration forms submitted by a nonprofit group called Houston Votes. Harris County Tax Assessor Leo Vasquez referred the matter to the county prosecutor.

DeLeon said the county clerk's office received 14 complaints of alleged voter intimidation at 11 voting locations on Monday, the first day of early voting for the Nov. 2 general election. Birnberg said his office forwarded about two dozen complaints to the county attorney's office.

"In any election year you get one or two over-zealous poll watchers, but this was a pattern throughout minority early voting precincts," Birnberg said. 

"We hope it can be resolved by government authorities pointing out to these folks that they not only are acting undemocratically but blatantly illegally."

A total of 26,051 people voted at early polling locations Monday. That figure compares with 8,545 on the first day of voting for the 2006 gubernatorial election. Monday's total was more than triple the number from four years ago, but was not a record, DeLeon said.

"Obviously this election in Harris County, Texas, is important, not just because we're the largest county in Texas but also because of how it might affect the overall results," said O'Rourke of the county attorney's office. "It's our duty to investigate the complaints."

The good news is that early voting is getting increasingly popular in states.  The bad news is that minority voter intimidation has now become a month-long ordeal in some places.  Let's not forget that the warehouse storing Harris County's electronic voting machines just happened to be destroyed in a fire in August, and of course that means that on Election Day, voters will face long lines as all the destroyed machines can't possibly be all replaced on time and the number of voting precincts will have to be cut, making it difficult for everyone to be able to vote.

Voters are now taking advantage of early voting, but I don't think anyone expected turnout for early voting to go up in Harris County, especially in minority precincts.  Certainly the Tea Party backed "True the Vote" folks didn't.

Good for Texas.  Folks, if no-excuse early voting is available in your state, by all means take advantage of it.

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