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VOTER INTIMIDATION

Governor ‘Driving Force’ Behind Program to Wrongly Purge Up to 100,000 Rightful Voters From Texas Rolls: Report

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“We have an urgent request from the governor’s office to do it again.”

Back in January, Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott announced he believes in charging those who commit voter fraud. “I support prosecution where appropriate,” Abbott said. His Attorney General, Ken Paxton had just posted a “VOTER FRAUD ALERT” on Twitter.

The Texas Secretary of State had claimed in an advisory that 95,000 registered voters in the Lone Star State were actually not U.S. citizens, and that a whopping 58,000 had recently voted.

It was all false. Maybe even a lie. It perhaps could even be called fraud.

“Gov. Greg Abbott’s office was a driving force in the state’s program to purge nearly 100,000 suspected non-U.S. citizens from Texas’ voter rolls,” the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday reports. Months after making the false claims, the program to disenfranchise tens of thousands of voters was “scrapped…after the state settled lawsuits challenging it, and after Secretary of State officials publicly admitted they included flawed data showing tens of thousands of naturalized citizens were on the purge list.”

Emails revealing Governor Abbott was behind the purge were just released.

The data the Secretary of State used to construct the list of voters to be purged from the rolls wrongly included legal permanent residents who later become naturalized U.S. citizens. The governor’s program would have removed them.

“The bottom line is this was the governor’s program,” said Luis Vera, the national general counsel for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Vera also accused Gov. Abbott of throwing David Whitley, Abbott’s nominee to become Secretary of State, and Dept. of Public Safety Secretary Steve McCraw “under the bus. All along it was the governor pushing for (the program).”

The Chronicle adds that in “an August 2018 email from John Crawford, a top official of the driver’s license division at the Texas Department of Public Safety, to an employee, Crawford said DPS had run data of licensed drivers to compare to state voter rolls before, and “we have an urgent request from the governor’s office to do it again.”

 

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VOTER INTIMIDATION

Texas Voter Intimidation Bill Targets Elderly, Disabled, and Most Vulnerable

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Texas Republican State Senator Bryan Hughes‘ bill on “election integrity” is a clear attack on voting rights, get out the vote efforts, and preys on the most vulnerable voters. Senate Bill 9 passed the Senate last month, and is a priority for the very powerful Texas Lt. Governor, far right wing ideologue and Trump supporter Dan Patrick, to become law. He claims it “protects our democracy.”

Here’s just a few of the ways SB 9 harms voters, especially those who need help the most.

SB 9 increases the penalty for making a simple mistake on a voter registration form. If SB 9 becomes law, voters who make a mistake on their voter form could go to jail, civil rights groups say.

Cinde Weatherby of the non-partisan League of Women Voters of Texas says portions of SB 9 are “attacks on our civil liberties.”

Zenén Jaimes Pérez, advocacy director for the Texas Civil Rights Project, told The San Antonio Current, “This legislation magnifies the voter suppression tactics that [Texas politicians] have been pursuing for the last couple of years.”

The bill also makes it harder for an elderly or disabled voter who requires assistance to vote.

It makes it illegal for, say, a friend to drive 3 or more voters who are “physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance” and therefore request a poll worker’s assistance to bring “a ballot to the voter at the polling place entrance or curb,” unless they fill out and sign an affidavit attesting to the voters’ inability to enter the polling location without help.

Who is going to want to sign an affidavit – including their name and address – when they’re just doing a few friends a favor by driving them to the polls?

Here’s how SB 9 mandates that this new process be fulfilled:

A person who assists at least three voters voting under this section at the same time by providing the voters with transportation to the polling place must complete and sign a form
that:
(1) requires the person to affirm that the voters are
physically unable to enter the polling place without personal
assistance or likelihood of injuring their health; and
(2) contains the following information:
(A) the person’s name and address; and
(B) whether the person is providing assistance to
the voters solely under this section or under both this section and
Subchapter B.
(f) Subsection (e) does not apply to a person if the person
is a family member of all voters that the person provides with
transportation to the polling place. For purposes of this
subsection, “family member” has the meaning assigned by Section
33.057(a).
(g) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form
described by Subsection (e).

In case there’s any question that the intent of the bill is to discourage legal voters from voting, the original text of that portion of the bill applied to just one voter in need of assistance.

A person who assists a voter voting under this section by providing the voter with transportation to the polling place must complete and sign a form that:
(1) requires the person to affirm that the voter is physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring the voter’s health; and
(2) contains the following information:
(A) the person’s name and address; and
(B) whether the person is providing assistance
solely under this section or under both this section and Subchapter
B.
(f) The secretary of state shall prescribe the form
described by Subsection (e).

The Texas House has until May 27 to pass the bill.

Want to know more? The Texas Civil Rights Project has an explainer for SB 9.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated SB 9 would apply to a voter driving any friends to the polls. That section of SB 9 applies only to those needing assistance from poll workers.

Image via Facebook

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VOTER INTIMIDATION

Border Patrol to Conduct ‘Crowd Control Exercise’ on Election Day Near Hispanic Neighborhood’s Polling Station

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The U.S. Border Patrol is preparing for the migrant caravan – still weeks and hundreds of miles away – by conducting a “crowd control exercise” on Election Day in a Hispanic neighborhood a half-mile away from their polling station.

That Hispanic neighborhood is in El Paso, which coincidentally happens to be the hometown of Rep. Beto O’Rourke, the popular Democratic candidate challenging U.S. Senator Ted Cruz.

Texas Monthly, reporting on the “exercise,” notes that Senator Cruz “has welcomed news of the deployment and criticized his opponent for being soft on immigration. ‘He is waiting on the Rio Grande with welcome baskets and foot massages,’ Cruz said of O’Rourke recently. Cruz has also consistently pointed out that he has received the endorsement of the national U.S. Border Patrol Union.”

A Customs and Border Protection spokesman describes the Election Day event as part of ongoing preparations and insists there is “no link to the election date.”

U.S. Rep. David Price (D-NC) accuses the Border Patrol of engaging “in voter intimidation tactics. In the United States of America. Add this to the list of investigations for the next Congress,” he warns.

UPDATE:
The ACLU of Texas says Border Patrol canceled the exercise, but criticized CBP for planning the “exercises” on Election Day:

“It shouldn’t have taken outrage from us, congressmen, and the community for them to recognize that this would cause serious problems” on Election Day, they tweeted.

Image by U.S Customs and Border Protection via Flickr

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