in Houston, Texas

Mail-in voter fraud subject of election administrators’ forum

votingmarquee.jpg
Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010, 09:00PM CST
By Steve Miller

A group of election administrators from South Texas will invite state lawmakers from their respective districts to attend an August roundtable discussion of voter fraud issues that have plagued their elections for years.

The group, along with colleagues from around the state, will be in Austin to attend the annual state election law seminar presented by the Texas Secretary of State.

“It’s the chance we can take to get someone interested in reform or getting us some kind of help,” said Rudy Montalvo from Starr County, one of the 10 election officials.
 
Invitations have not yet been issued, he added, and noted that in the past, legislators have shown little interest in looking at voter fraud issues in South Texas.
 
Case in point: The state Senate Committee on State Affairs meets Wednesday to discuss voting issues. But like its House counterpart, mail-in ballot voter fraud, the most prevalent form of election malfeasance, will not be discussed.
 
Instead, the nine-member panel will study ways to improve the efficiency and accuracy of voter rolls and discuss the military absentee voting process.
 
 
In preparation for the upcoming session, the committee has not asked for a study of anything related to mail-in voter fraud, a committee clerk said.

Voters and officials discouraged by the free reign held by vote harvesters, or politiqueras, have mostly given up asking Austin for help.
 
It’s been seven years since Democratic State Rep. Steve Wolens helped pass legislation addressing mail-in ballot fraud via his House Bill 54. The measure set out penalties for appropriating ballots and otherwise abusing the mail-in voter process.
 
The law provides a misdemeanor penalty for most crimes related to mail-in balloting, but the majority of convictions result in plea bargains with no jail time.
 
“I know that my party, the Democratic Party, is not interested in fixing this,” said Ruben Peña, who lost a race for a Cameron County commission spot in an April primary. He blames mail-in ballot fraud and the work of vote harvesters, and points to the fact that while he won the early voting and election day balloting, he lost the mail-in contest.
 
 
“This use of mail-in ballots is how Democrats in this area mobilize votes,” Peña said. “I would never approach a legislator from here on this. I would be wasting my time. I would have better luck approaching a Republican from the north or the east part of the state without ties to this area.”
 
Vote harvesters are individuals who shepherd mail-in ballots, which are used mostly by elderly voters who cannot get to the polls. In some cases, the politiqueras, paid by a group of like-minded candidates, come to the home of the voter, encouraging the voter to cast a ballot for particular candidates, then take the ballot to the mailbox.
 
Influencing a vote and possessing the ballot of another person are both misdemeanors.
 
Taking their case to Austin is perhaps the last resort of officials and individuals who are exasperated by the continued influence of politiqueras. In some cases, these election workers have been linked to state officials, making reform difficult.
 
“When I came to office in 2003, Steve Wolens had a reform bill, and that really, in our opinion at the time, took care of a lot of the issues we had heard about,” said State Rep. Ryan Guillen, whose District 31 includes Starr and Duval counties, which have been marred in recent years by mail-in voter fraud convictions.

“But going down the road almost eight years now, I would have to say I am not sure what the fix is. I have a feeling when we meet with these folks in August and on into the session, the question is going to be asked, ‘Are there teeth in this law?’”

Guillen, a Democrat, looks at the prevailing election issue of voter ID and ventures that mail-in ballot fraud may be an issue that will unite along partisan lines.
 
“Voter ID has turned into such a partisan issue,” he said. “But there are areas in which we can agree, and I think as [voter ID] becomes more partisan and more divided, Austin will start looking for an area of common ground. Maybe this is it.”
 
Steve Miller has written extensively on the problem of mail-in ballot fraud in South Texas. Find all his reports by searching VOTER FRAUD at www.texaswatchdog.org. Call 832-303-9420 or e-mail stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

Photo of a movie marquee by flickr user Lexinatrix, used via a Creative Commons license.
 
Comments
Be the first to post a comment.
Video
KTRK: On Big Screens for Billionaires, Comptroller Susan Combs Silent
Related Blogs and Media
Davis: ‘I’ve never backed away from President Obama’ Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis said Wednesday she has “never backed away from” President Barack Obama. Democratic...
Update:4 hours 22 min
San Antonio Express-News
Leach, others with big business on transpo State Representative Jeff Leach and others are not only toeing the establishment line on transportation, they are putting their support on...
Update:4 hours 33 min
AgendaWise
Davis would be ‘thrilled’ to have Obama’s help in Texas The Democrat’s rhetorical hug of the president contrasts sharply with the arms-length approach many in the party are taking in the...
Update:4 hours 53 min
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Will This $145K Mid-Century Rancher in Glenbrook Valley Complete Its Quick Flip? Since its purchase in August for $86,100, a 1956 Glenbrook Valley property located on one of the mid-century neighborhood’s...
Update:6 hours 12 min
Swamplot
Houston Home Listing Photo of the Day: Space Stations 4407 Marlborough Dr. [HAR] … Read...
Update:7 hours 12 min
Swamplot
Comment of the Day: What I Should Have Said about Strake Jesuit “If people want to self-segregate and move somewhere like The Woodlands, great. I’m glad they are free to do that. What I don’t...
Update:8 hours 12 min
Swamplot
Here’s a First Entry in an Impromptu ‘What Randall Davis’s New Downtown Condo Tower Will Probably Look Like’ Design Competition There is always excitement surrounding an announcement of a new Randall Davis condo tower — before the design is revealed. Everyone...
Update:9 hours 28 min
Swamplot
Davis TV ad again hits Abbott over education cuts AUSTIN — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is out with a new TV ad in which she directly faces the viewer and questions...
Update:9 hours 46 min
San Antonio Express-News
Streaming: Poverty & Prosperity ...
Update:10 hours 32 min
AgendaWise
Why News 92 failed, another SA TV departure plus more MORE VIDEOS - KPRC' s Dominique Sachse, Bill Balleza & Frank Billingsley on 'The Tonight Show' - Boom 92.1 FM Classic Hip Hop Houston...
Update:10 hours 42 min
Mike McGuff
Tweets
Karen Townsend | 2 years 2 months
"Patrick F. Kennedy is a career foreign service officer" - http://t.co/GOrCe0IS
Peter Corbett ✈ | 2 years 2 months
I'm at McCarran International Airport (LAS) w/ @almacy http://t.co/KvmId07i
KERA Public Media | 2 years 2 months
TONIGHT at 7pm on KERA TV: Presidential Debate: Learn more at PBS NewsHour. http://t.co/Z9kYdun8
PBS MediaShift | 2 years 2 months
Tech Snafus Make Bill O'Reilly/Jon Stewart 'Rumble' More of a Stumble http://t.co/4OfeBlrG (@kegill | @pbsmediashift) #rumble2012
Will Sullivan | 2 years 2 months
Great addition, been burned too much by bad subs. "Google Play Announces Free Trials For In-App Subscription Services" http://t.co/TOLgRVak
TxDOT | 2 years 2 months
I-35W/North Tarrant Express #constantcontact http://t.co/QDzrQumu
keyetv | 2 years 2 months
Serial shotgun robbers suspects arrested. http://t.co/ka8T4U9B
Karen Townsend | 2 years 2 months
Aren't State Dept career people suppose to be non-partisan? Not the political appointees, the career people. #Libya
© 2014 TEXAS WATCHDOG and USELABS. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use and Privacy Statement