in Houston, Texas
Lawmakers listening to elections complaints, but Rep. Ryan Guillen unsure how to toughen laws on mail-in ballot fraud
Wednesday, Aug 18, 2010, 12:45PM CST
By Steve Miller

  

The meeting yesterday between a few South Texas elections administrators and state Reps. Ryan Guillen and Solomon Ortiz Jr. was significant for anyone who has been following our coverage of voter fraud in the region.

  The Kingsville gathering had funny elements, such as the sometimes-ridiculous residency laws for voting, but it also carried the appropriate tone of seriousness that the issue, fair elections, warrants.


That anyone is paying attention to the concerns of the group is a testament to the tenacity of the elections officials, who have been meeting informally for two years as an offshoot of the Texas Association of Elections Administrators.


vote here sign

While most in that association have focused on ensuring all the mandates of the Help American Vote Act of 2002 -- an important plan for elections integrity -- are met, the South Texas folks have talked about their unique issues, including voter fraud. Particularly mail-in ballot fraud. And they talked among themselves, because there was never much interest north of I-10. Until now, perhaps.


Taking it to Austin next year will be interesting. For Tuesday’s meeting, invites went to many quarters of authority. The office of state Rep. Yvonne Gonzalez Toureilles says it never received the invite e-mail, said Roy Ruiz, the Kenedy County official who heads the coalition of administrators. And after initially saying he had a prior engagement, state Rep. Abel Herrero showed up at the two-hour long meeting. He seemed interested and curiousbut had to leave after 45 minutes for another engagement.


One never knows what will come from meetings like this.


Ortiz seemed bent on scoring points for his opposition to the voter ID bill, which promises to be another partisan showdown.


Ortiz spoke of his grandmother, who has voted for years but has no Social Security card, no driver’s license, and really just no form of ID at all. “And she will never get it,” he said. Perhaps there are others who face the same situation: older, established, reliable voters for whom time has proved to be their greatest identifier. There’s an element that hasn’t been addressed in the acrimonious debate.


The run-up to this controversy is not new; recall in 2008 folks in Austin braced for what turned out to be a log-jammer of an issue, voter ID.


“That’s an issue from Washington,” Guillen told Texas Watchdog after yesterday’s meeting in Kingsville. “I’ve been in the legislature since 2003. The first issue like this was vouchers. Now it’s this.”


He wasn’t being divisive. If anything, he seemed to understand the urgency on both sides of the aisle. But “getting Democrats on board for voter ID is going to be almost impossible.”


Guillen added that many of the problems outlined by the South Texas group can be put into the mix of bills in the upcoming session, with the possible exception of one: Mail-in ballot fraud.


“I don’t know how you can legislate that one. You can increase the penalties, but you will hear that we need the prisons for violent offenders.”


The group plans to meet again in November.

 

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

 

Photo of a 'Vote here' sign by flickr user Lester Public Library, used via a Creative Commons license.

Comments
Rorschach
Wednesday, 08/18/2010 - 07:49PM

So, how exactly will his grandmother qualify for medicare or Social Security if she does not have a SSN? Perhaps his Grandmother is Illegal and voting illegally maybe? Doesn't Obamacare REQUIRE her to register for Medicare?

NH Gonzalez
Thursday, 08/19/2010 - 03:05PM

Well it sure wasn't much of a turn-out at this gathering! Why?.

Many politicians depend on this activity to improve their chances of getting elected!

Let's quit beating around the bush! We don't need more legislative penalties. We don't need a voter ID!

We need to hold Law enforcement accountable for investigating

and prosecuting this cases of fraud when the opportunity arises!

Case in Point; Corruption was uncovered in Jim Wells County in the 2008 election. Not by Law Enforcement, mind you, but by the Alice Echo News Journal!

It was at the same time comical and disgusting to see people running like rabbits from news personnel. Others taking the fifth in open Court. Still others pointing fingers at each other and their politicians!

Some admitted to voting 50/60 ballets and putting them in the mailbox themselves. Zaida Bueno admitted to 200 of them! and named her handler! etc.,ect, etc.....

It took over two years! Local Enforcement didn't do anything. The attorney General filed MISDEMEANOR charges against three! When they could have filed felony charges and sent a powerful message to any would be crooks!

Oh Yea! Not one politician has come forth and denounced, condemned or criticized the activity. I certainly wish anyone of them would publicly show a bit of indignation!

File felony charges and they would have all spilled their guts and named others to save their own skin!

The statement from Guillen that "You will hear that we need the prisons for violent offenders" was certainly not heard from me.

They may not be violent but so many of our men & women defend, die or are mained for life defending our constitutional Rights. One of which includes our right to choose who is to lead us! Yet this people not only trample it but the sacrifices of so many! They (the politiqueras) decide who wins!

Message to politicians; we don't need harsher laws. We need the current ones enforced to the fullest extent when the opportunity presents itself! Now go out there and pressure Law Enforcement!!

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