Saturday, October 20, 2012

Texas: It's Almost Time To Vote Early

Basic info and necessary links for Harris County residents are available in my earlier post here. Early voting starts Monday, Oct. 22, and ends Nov. 2. The romance of Election Day voting (Nov. 6) is pretty much gone, superseded by wholly negative practical considerations... long lines, possible voting system failures and "failures," possible voter ID challenges at the polls by Republicans who do not like your skin color, etc. The short version: vote early.

Even if you overcome those obstacles, your vote may or may not be counted. In Texas, more than 200 counties including Harris now use DRE (direct recording electronic) voting machines and systems made by Hart InterCivic, systems not without their problems over the years since their introduction after the 2000 debacle. Even at best, the systems generate no paper trail, and individual votes are aggregated by the polling-place-level system. Your individual vote disappears into the ocean the moment you press "Cast Ballot". But it's too late to request an absentee ballot, and those are fraught with problems of their own.

While not a catalog of the horrors of voting by DRE systems, this NYT article from 2008 has an assortment of examples. The history is not encouraging. Not only is stealing elections made easier than ever, but accidental loss of votes, sometimes whole precincts of them, is a possibility in ways it never was before.

How common is trouble with all sorts of voting systems in America? has a map of the status of voting systems in all 50 states; only five have the status "good." Expect problems, maybe in your state.

And Republican attempts to steal the election are already underway. Recently, for example, in Virginia, a Pennsylvania man working for a contracting firm in the employ of the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested after being seen tossing completed Virginia voter registrations (presumably by likely Democratic voters) in a dumpster. (The man's name is Colin Small; make of that what you will.) And this happened months after Myth Rmoney sent a letter to the Virginia attorney general asking for an investigation of alleged voter registration fraud by Democratic organizations. What GOPers do themselves is what they accuse their opponents of... isn't there a name for that phenomenon? other than "strategy," I mean...

When the CEO of Diebold, Wally O'Dell, told Republicans in a fundraising letter before the 2004 elections that he was "committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year," he gave a warning that all Democrats should heed. Heads up, Democrats (indeed any non-Republicans): your vote is in danger, more than ever before.

(I don't know about you, but I resent like hell having even to think about this. It just isn't right.)


  1. It's time to start planning how we are going to survive the next decade. Obama's election will buy some time, but since his economic policies differ very little from the past it is inevitable that the future holds disaster for most of us. Did you see the Bill Moyers interview with Matt Taibbi and Christia Freeland?

    1. I just saw that interview tonight, karmanot. The sense of privilege in those people... they must be a lot like Rmoney... is breathtaking. I've even known people who grew up "merely rich" who didn't have an attitude like that; those folks are downright pathological in their views of their own worth.

      BTW, I presume you saw Moyers's interview with Stein and Honkala... it makes me want to vote for them, "but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep..."



• Click here to view existing comments.
• Or enter your new rhyme or reason
in the new comment box here.
• Or click the first Reply link below an existing
comment or reply and type in the
new reply box provided.
• Scrolling manually up and down the page
is also OK.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes