FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Real Scandals of the Texas Election

In live internet broadcasts last week, a Master of Discovery appointed by the Texas Legislature to investigate allegations of a stolen election in West Houston indeed found some ‘fact patterns’ that looked scandalous, but you can’t tell it by reading any press reports. The hearing was supposed to look for evidence of voter fraud committed by Democratic voters. Instead, every time one of these curious patterns emerged, it was a hint of possible fraud not by Democratic voters, but against them.

On Thursday for example, Master of Discovery Will Harnett (R-Dallas), a cum laude graduate from Harvard, noticed that several voter registrations in the West Houston area looked strangely alike. They were all dated late 2003, presented accurate mailing addresses, yet re-registered voters to addresses where they did not live. In effect, the series of fraudulent registrations ‘deported’ African American voters out of Texas House District 149 and therefore made the voters appear illegal when they attempted to vote in their usual precincts.

So when the defeated Republican incumbent in the District 149 race went looking for evidence of ‘massive voter fraud’ that would explain his embarrassing loss to a Vietnamese immigrant, he snared the names of these ‘illegal’ voters and brought them to the state capitol accusing them on live broadcast of voting where they did not live. Instead of proving these voters had cast illegal ballots, however, the Republican team of lawyers actually produced evidence of another kind.

Thanks to the careful eye that Hartnett cast upon the evidence, it appeared that someone was moving voters without their knowledge. Hartnett suggested the cards might be forwarded to the Harris County District Attorney. In press reports Friday, Saturday, and Sunday I have not been able to locate a sentence, much less a headline about Hartnett’s discovery of this criminal pattern.

On Friday Hartnett noticed another curious thing. As he examined original questionnaires that were supposed to be filled out by alleged illegal voters and notarized as depositions, he found two kinds of ink used to fill out the answers and two kinds of handwriting. Larry Veselka, the Yale-educated lawyer who represents the elected Democrat in the race, Hubert Vo, then noticed that handwritten ‘no’ and ‘NA’ answers on at least two questionnaires looked to be written in the same hand.

Again, nobody reported this alleged ‘tampering with evidence,’ especially not the state capitol press corps, who let this open-air revelation pass without even quoting the words that were mentioned in the broadcast. However, since the proceeding took place under the jurisdiction of Austin prosecutor Ronnie Earle, maybe reporters are simply waiting to quote him on the matter of ‘assisted depositions.’ Or maybe I’m trying too hard to find a sensible motivation for media behaviors.

Finally, Hartnett was caught grinning at the flexibility he found at the official website of the Harris County voter registrar, which changed its listing of more than one voter from legal to illegal sometime during early January, following consultations with Republican lawyers. Hartnett seemed perversely amused when lawyers for the defense showed him a web page confirming a voter registration, dated early January, as Republican lawyers submitted more recent web pages showing the voter was not registered. Sometimes this duel of conflicting web pages seemed enough for Hartnett to say that he just couldn’t be sure if the voter was illegal or not.

At one point Republican lawyer Andy Taylor openly admitted that when he was not satisfied with a listing he found at the web site, he contacted the registrar’s office, presented his own findings, and got voters kicked off the rolls so that he could submit revised web pages as evidence. That wasn’t mentioned in the press, either.

In the end, it appears that the Republican challenge not only failed to prove ‘widespread fraud’ among Democrat voters of West Houston, but actually served up a fine public record of practices by Republicans and unknown others that would suppress their rights.

But you had to be watching the hearings in their 19-hour entirety to know any of the above, because according to inscrutable laws of Texas journalistic selection, nothing of this sort has yet been counted as news. How could so many eyes of Texas be upon the hearing, and yet so little be seen? If this is the kind of reporting we get about publicly broadcast events, what kind of independent reporting can we expect during this legislative season session about anything happening behind the scenes?

GREG MOSES is editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review and author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. His chapter on civil rights under Clinton and Bush appears in Dime’s Worth of Difference, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. He can be reached at: gmosesx@prodigy.net

More articles by:

Greg Moses writes about peace and Texas, but not always at the same time. He is author of Revolution of Conscience: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Philosophy of Nonviolence. As editor of the Texas Civil Rights Review he has written about racism faced by Black agriculturalists in Texas. He can be reached at gmosesx@gmail.com

July 17, 2018
Conn Hallinan
Trump & The Big Bad Bugs
Robert Hunziker
Trump Kills Science, Nature Strikes Back
John Grant
The Politics of Cruelty
Kenneth Surin
Calculated Buffoonery: Trump in the UK
Binoy Kampmark
Helsinki Theatrics: Trump Meets Putin
Patrick Bond
BRICS From Above, Seen Critically From Below
Jim Kavanagh
Fighting Fake Stories: The New Yorker, Israel and Obama
Daniel Falcone
Chomsky on the Trump NATO Ruse
W. T. Whitney
Oil Underground in Neuquén, Argentina – and a New US Military Base There
Doug Rawlings
Ken Burns’ “The Vietnam War” was Nominated for an Emmy, Does It Deserve It?
Rajan Menon
The United States of Inequality
Thomas Knapp
Have Mueller and Rosenstein Finally Gone Too Far?
Cesar Chelala
An Insatiable Salesman
Dean Baker
Truth, Trump and the Washington Post
Mel Gurtov
Human Rights Trumped
Binoy Kampmark
Putin’s Football Gambit: How the World Cup Paid Off
July 16, 2018
Sheldon Richman
Trump Turns to Gaza as Middle East Deal of the Century Collapses
Charles Pierson
Kirstjen Nielsen Just Wants to Protect You
Brett Wilkins
The Lydda Death March and the Israeli State of Denial
Patrick Cockburn
Trump Knows That the US Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit
Robert Fisk
The Fisherman of Sarajevo Told Tales Past Wars and Wars to Come
Gary Leupp
When Did Russia Become an Adversary?
Uri Avnery
“Not Enough!”
Dave Lindorff
Undermining Trump-Putin Summit Means Promoting War
Manuel E. Yepe
World Trade War Has Begun
Binoy Kampmark
Trump Stomps Britain
Wim Laven
The Best Deals are the Deals that Develop Peace
Kary Love
Can We Learn from Heinrich Himmler’s Daughter? Should We?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Franklin Lamb, Requiescat in Pace
Weekend Edition
July 13, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Brian Cloughley
Lessons That Should Have Been Learned From NATO’s Destruction of Libya
Paul Street
Time to Stop Playing “Simon Says” with James Madison and Alexander Hamilton
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of Formula and Honey
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s Intellectuals Bow to the Queen of Chaos 
Michael Collins
The Affirmative Action Silo
Andrew Levine
Tipping Points
Geoff Dutton
Fair and Balanced Opinion at the New York Times
Ajamu Baraka
Cultural and Ideological Struggle in the US: a Final Comment on Ocasio-Cortez
David Rosen
The New McCarthyism: Is the Electric Chair Next for the Left?
Ken Levy
The McConnell Rule: Nasty, Brutish, and Unconstitutional
George Wuerthner
The Awful Truth About the Hammonds
Robert Fisk
Will Those Killed by NATO 19 Years Ago in Serbia Ever Get Justice?
Robert Hunziker
Three Climatic Monsters with Asteroid Impact
Ramzy Baroud
Europe’s Iron Curtain: The Refugee Crisis is about to Worsen
Nick Pemberton
A Letter For Scarlett JoManDaughter
Marilyn Garson
Netanyahu’s War on Transcendence 
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail