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Opinion

OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 6: What’s Ahead?

During the past weeks, I’ve talked about an election that occurred in 2000, but the election problems and voter fraud have spanned decades.

The hope is that this series has begun to get people talking, analyzing and re-evaluating their own attitudes and perceptions about this issue and voting generally—to be more self-aware about personal voting patterns and more peripherally aware. Its intent is not to titillate the gossip, but to motivate action.

Thank you for the kind words of encouragement we have received. Please share, encourage others and become involved.

What’s happening today? The printed size of the Texas Election Code has grown since the first copy I purchased in 2000. So, now the process begins again as I read the newest version front to back. I am updating my knowledge base to the current laws and procedures relative to the current conditions. But, this time I’m analyzing it more carefully from an informed perspective and weighing it against the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA)—which has influenced election processes across the country. This year I am also planning to attend training for election officials and workers at the state and county level to see what is happening in that process.

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Read more: OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 6: What’s Ahead?

   

OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 5: Are you the problem or the solution?

My mother, June Brann, and I had a lot of political discussions over the years on a variety of subjects.

On one occasion—and more years back than I want to admit—we were discussing the public’s integrity and the tide of elections generally.

She said, “People will always vote their pocketbooks.”

I replied, “The people will never vote for an individual with higher moral character than that which they personally possess. The moral fiber of those elected to office reflects the moral fiber of the populace.”

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Read more: OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 5: Are you the problem or the solution?

   

OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 4: Procedures, practices and pitfalls = problems

Up to now, this series has only skimmed the surface of the cogs turning the wheel of voter fraud in South Texas. The convoluted layers require multiple elements to survive and for the machine to move forward.

The root begins with the official procedures for the conduct of elections in Texas governed by the Texas Election Code. The election laws can be broken into two main parts—those which are procedural only and have no legal consequence and those which do have legal consequence. Any consequence may be defined as a misdemeanor or a felony within the Election Code, depending on the degree of severity it interferes with the individual’s right to vote. But, both parts still have direct and irretrievable effect on an election’s outcome if not administered properly.

Practices could best be described by the too often heard exclamation, “But that’s the way it’s always been done!” Because it’s always been done that way doesn’t mean it’s correct or legal. How far did that argument get you with your mother? Then they cry, “Discrimination!” if someone else—with correct knowledge—cries, “Foul!” Last time anyone checked, the rule of law applies to everyone.

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Read more: OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 4: Procedures, practices and pitfalls = problems

   

OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 3: The paper trail and the politiquera system

The scene has been set. Two independent groups were analyzing the paper trail of the March, 2000, Hidalgo County primary elections. Each for very different reasons: a group of citizens concerned over voting irregularities and Tony Peña, who lost the sheriff’s race by 47 votes, and his supporters.

The two teams came up with some of the same things and independent additional things. It painted the overall picture of the South Texas voting climate.

We did not merge our findings until later, after Peña had withdrawn his efforts to contest the election. He did not withdraw because of weakness in the evidence in documenting disenfranchised voters. It was due to the prohibitive cost involved when his opponent asked to have everyone deposed two days before the civil suit—a cost that had to be borne by the one contesting the election, not by the opponent.

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Read more: OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 3: The paper trail and the politiquera system

   

OPINION - State Capital Highlights: Permanent School Fund reaches new high

AUSTIN — Texas’ 160-year-old Permanent School Fund had grown to $29 billion, a record high value, in December 2013, the Texas Education Agency reported Feb. 6.

The fund was created by the state in 1854 with a $2 million investment. Last year was a good one. In fiscal year 2013, which ended Aug. 31, the fund earned a return of 10.16 percent — the highest return earned by any major state of Texas investment fund. Recent strong returns also made the Permanent School Fund the best performing major state fund over a three-year period ending on Aug. 31, 2013, with a return of 11.07 percent.

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OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 2: Setting the scene: Why get involved?

There’s a story to tell—actually numerous, individual stories—but their summation is centered on one thing: the longtime, illegal voting practices and abuses in South Texas.

This chapter in the story begins with why I chose to get involved in South Texas voting problems.

It was the year 2000. Some will recall it as the year of the contested wrangling between political factions following the November general election. Time seemingly stood still during the furor over the presidential race. Scrutinized under the national microscope, dangling chads were flying off ballots in Florida—sometimes with assistance.  It held the nation riveted. In the sea of flying accusations of illegalities compromising the election’s integrity, it became a national debate of finger pointing. It was not the finest hour for partisan politics. All the while, it left citizens across the country bewildered, talking and frustrated.

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Read more: OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 2: Setting the scene: Why get involved?

   

OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 1: More than meets the eye?

Regarding an editorial*, “Commentary: Encouraging RGV voters through civic engagement,” which ran Jan. 27 with The Monitor:

The author, a Michael Seifert from Brownsville, writes, "As the 2014 primary election season begins to heat up, members of the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network are preparing to knock on doors throughout the region, including South McAllen, in a nonpartisan effort to encourage neighbors and friends to get out and vote."

Nonpartisan? How so? The definition of “partisan” is “strong supporter of a party, cause or person.”  It’s a word that is bandied about too easily these days and is misleading in most uses.

His piece ends with "The Get Out the Vote project is a collaborative effort involving LUPE, Proyecto Azteca, ARISE, Texas Organizing Project, South Texas Civil Rights’ Project and the ACLU in Hidalgo County." Everything between is a partisan position on HB-5.

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Read more: OPINION: South Texas Voter Fraud - Part 1: More than meets the eye?

   

OPINION - State Capital Highlights: Perry touches on pot policy in international forum

AUSTIN — With the end of his longevity record of 14 years as governor less than a year away, Rick Perry took part in policy discussions at the 2014 World Economic Forum Jan. 21-25 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.

Perry was the only U.S. state governor to attend the forum, the governor’s office said. Besides his headline-grabbing words suggesting a softer approach through drug courts on state marijuana laws, Perry said Texas is the place to be for companies seeking a business-friendly environment.

On Jan. 23, during the forum’s widely publicized panel discussion on drug policy, Perry said, “I’m probably the only person who is going to be an anti-legalization person on the stage tonight.” But, in the context of Tenth Amendment/state sovereignty, Perry added, “As the governor of the second-largest state in the country, what I can do is start us on policies that can start us on the road towards decriminalization.”

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