in Houston, Texas
Democrats sue Harris County Voter Registrar Leo Vasquez for alleged violations of voter registration laws
Thursday, Sep 02, 2010, 06:17PM CST
By Mark Lisheron

As it did in 2008, the Texas Democratic Party has sued the Harris County voter registrar in federal district court for what it says are violations of voter registration laws, political favoritism and violations of voter privacy.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday with the federal court's Southern District, is the latest shot across the bow of registrar Leo Vasquez, who on Aug. 24 accused two Democratic-leaning activist groups of organized and systematic voter fraud involving more than 5,000 applications for voter registrations.

The lawsuit takes exception to Vasquez' making public the voter registration applications in question and making them available to a Tea Party activist group called the King Street Patriots, which has publicly pledged to monitor voter fraud in Texas. The suit says Vasquez "resisted" turning over the same documents to officials with the Harris County and Texas Democratic Party organizations.

The lawsuit also accuses Vasquez of violating a 2008 settlement of a lawsuit accusing his predecessor, Paul Bettencourt, of practices that blunted the ability of citizens to register to vote in a timely way. Both are Republicans. The original suit was settled without Bettencourt addressing whether the allegations against him were true or false.

"Given Mr. Vasquez' actions last week, we have been forced to take legal action to make sure his office does not repeat the same kind of practices that denied almost 70,000 Harris County citizens the right to register and vote in 2008," the Texas Democratic Party said in a press release issued after the suit was filed.

Exhibits in the lawsuit:

Exhibit A, the settlement agreement in a 2008 lawsuit by the party against then-Tax Assessor/Voter Registrar Paul Bettencourt

Exhibit B, letter from a Harris County attorney to the Justice Department and dated Jan. 21

Exhibit C, press release and materials issued by Voter Registrar Leo Vasquez on Aug. 24

Previously posted documents related to this story:

A press release from Houston Votes, Aug. 27

A briefing packet distributed to reporters by Voter Registrar Leo Vasquez, Aug. 24

A statement from Voter Registrar Leo Vasquez, Aug. 24

A news release from Voter Registrar Leo Vasquez, Aug. 24

Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or

Photo of a gavel by flickr user Joe Gratz, used via a Creative Commons license.

John Cobarruvias
Thursday, 09/02/2010 - 07:23PM

This time the Democratic Party should accept no settlements. Let's open Leo Vasquez's books, and emails, and everything. Someone needs to go to jail for this.

Tex Ms
Friday, 09/03/2010 - 06:50AM

Yes, Mr. Bay Area. That is why bogus voter applications have been turned over to law enforcement.

Wanda Goodman
Saturday, 09/25/2010 - 09:28AM

This time, the office of the DA needs to investigate the gross irregularities turned over by a grassroots organization. If you think the Dems signed a 2008 settlement when they could have exposed fraud by persevering....well, what does that say about the Dems? I hope the DA's office fries the creeps that are trying to steal our democracy, no matter what party it is. Duh.

Gary B.
Tuesday, 10/26/2010 - 01:25PM

I don't want persons that are not actual citizens of the United States voting in our elections. I also don't want persons voting more than once, one person-one vote. it's the Democratic way. Mr Leo Vasquez is just doing his job and it souds like he is correctly performing the duties of his office.

If you want to stuff ballot boxes with fraudulent votes and pervert the democratic process that our forefathers, kinsmen and women faught and died for I request, even insist you go to a contry not the United States of America or any of it's singular States and see how well you enjoy the political system there. Our system is based on one vote per legal citizen. It is the only fair way.

Wednesday, 10/27/2010 - 04:25AM

If Vasquez is just doing his job, then he can give what he gave to the tea partiers to those that want to know what he gave to the tea partiers. Let's go for openness, let them see what he has done. Otherwise, it appears he's doing something wrong.

I agree with the one person, one vote. But, also think that stopping people from getting their vote is really wrong. That's what it appears they are trying to do here. It's been a tradition, ya know.

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