November 22, 2004
Recount for Heflin
Talmadge Heflin has asked for a manual recount of the votes in his electoral loss to Hubert Vo.
State Rep. Talmadge Heflin has asked the state to order a manual recount of all ballots cast earlier this month in Heflin's unsuccessful bid for a 12th term in the Legislature.
Heflin's attorney, Andy Taylor, said that the Heflin campaign had uncovered "deeply disturbing evidence of voter fraud and election irregularities" and that the problems may have contributed to Heflin's 32-vote loss to businessman Hubert Vo earlier this month.
"Illegal votes were counted, and legal votes were rejected," Taylor said this afternoon.
Officials with Heflin's campaign filed a petition with the Texas Secretary of State's office today asking that the Harris County Clerk's Office hand-count the approximately 42,000 ballots cast in the race for state representative in House District 149 in southwest Harris County.
That recount could be complete by the first week of December, Taylor said.
Although Heflin and his supporters decided to seek the recount, Taylor said no decision has yet been made on whether to contest the election results in the state House of Representatives. Campaign officials have until the end of the day Thursday to decide that issue, he said.
This request is no surprise, and it's perfectly appropriate. As noted before
, this is really a hand count of the paper ballots, since the eSlate votes can only be done on the computer. As also noted
, no recount has ever changed an electoral result in Harris County, Andy Taylor's bloviating notwithstanding. Good luck to you, Talmadge, but don't throw out your resume just yet.
One more thing: I've said this before, but I do hope someone in HCDP is writing down all these nasty things Andy Taylor is saying about Bev Kaufman so we can use them against her in the 2006 election. Feel free to search my archives, fellas, it's all there for you.
UPDATE: Vince points out something I (like Greg) did not know:
Electronic balloting seems at issue for Heflin's camp. His attorney, Andy Taylor--who figured prominently in the state's congressional redistricting saga last year--said Harris County's e-Slate voting machines allow election officials to print out an image of each vote that was cast.
If that's true, then the full manual recount Taylor spoke about makes sense. Obviously, this will cost more than just a recount of the absentee ballots, but obviously, Heflin can afford it. I tell you what, though, if this turns the election - hell, if it changes the eSlate totals by one lousy vote - there will be a huge stink raised about their reliability and the need for a verifiable paper trail, and rightly so. That's a mighty big can of worms you've got there, Talmadge.
Posted by Charles Kuffner on November 22, 2004 to Election 2004
"Bloviating" is the perfect word for what Andy Taylor has done throughout this entire process. But lest we begin thinking this is all just a plot by the GOP's favorite lawyer to fund himself another seemingly endless cash cow case, there are many who think House Speaker Tom Craddick continues to push the challenge to these election results.
I think Mr. (Ms?) Timlin is right -- Tom Craddick is behind this disgusting attempt to rob a minority candidate of his victory in order to save his political crony Talmadge Heflin.
Why else would Bill Miller, Craddick's top consultant, have been so public in his comments that Heflin should move on? Why else would Andy Taylor continue to make wild claims about voter irregularities and election fraud? Why else would they wait until the last moment to file for a recount and then hint that their challenge of Hubert Vo's victory is far from over?
The fat cat lobby in Austin and their puppets Craddick, Heflin and the rest of this crowd cannot stand the thought of an immigrant candidate outworking, outcampaigning and outthinking them.
I f they help Heflin steal this election like he tried to steal that African American child a few weeks ago, Texas voters should turn the whole lot of them out of office two years from now.
You gotta give the speaker points for craftiness. He's been playing both sides of this to a tee. Publicly cut off Heflin's legs and reach out to Vo; privately have your dog (Taylor) plotting to steal the thing. Machiavelli would be proud. Hey Delay, Craddick is making you look like a school-yard punk with this play.
Cletus nails it. Craddick is much more subtle than the Hammer.
I just can't believe we didn't see it coming!! Craddick looks like he's throwing Heflin under the bus, but the whole time he's really just setting us up for the House contest.
This way, they'll be able to SAY they did everything right, ie gave away Talmadge's plush office and appointed a new appropriations chair, and come January the waters will mysteriously part for Heflin to come back.
Now, instead of making history with the first Vietnamese-American Legislator, the Republicans can make history by being the first ones to throw out an entire election because they don't like the results.
Seems to me I remember reading somewhere just after the election a Craddick quote to the effect that "Hubert Vo will never be a member of MY House."
This is the clearest example in a long time in Texas of the sheer arrogance of power. Are these people ideological zealots? Sure. Are they partisan thugs. You bet.
Most of all, though, they are corrupt. Corrupted by power, by zeolatry, by thuggishness.
Craddick should be thrown out of his leadership position by fellow House members when the legislature convenes in January... if he isn't indicted by the Travis County criminal grand jury first.
Can they really turn this election? It would be such a shame. I think it was so exciting to have an Asian Dem in the House. That Marth Wrong (R) is such B@$#@. I hope Huber Vo makes it.
Ner lbh gur fnzr thlf jub juvfcre "pbhag rirel ibgr" vagb lbhe cnenzbhe'f rne? Glcvpny engfbpeng ulcbpevfl: "V nz snve naq uvtu-zvaqrq, lbh ner qbpgevanver naq sbphfrq ba ivpgbel, ur vf n qvfthfgvat, cnegvfna vqrbybtvpny mrnybg erpbhag-frrxvat guht."
Jesus, Abelard, can you not read? What part of "This request is no surprise, and it's perfectly appropriate" do you fail to understand?
Abelard, Kuff is right. Any candidate who came as close as Heflin did owes it to his supporters to request a recount. It isn't that part of the process that's a problem.
But Heflin's lawyer, Andy Taylor, has spent the past three weeks tossing about unsubsantiated but very public allegations about voter fraud and electioneering. And even when he asked for the recount, hed hinted that it was simply a pro forma step before contesting this election in the Texas House.
THAT'S the problem, Abelard, and the reason these people leave themszelves open to charges of being zealots and thugs.
Have your recount, Heflin. It is your right. But if the vote tiurns out the same or substantially the same, have the grace and faith in the voters you represented for two decades to congratulate and Mr. Vo and wish him well.
Pnyz qbja, oblf, v jnf zreryl dhbgvat fbzr bs lbhe rfgrrzrq pbagevohgbef, abgnoyl fbzrguvat pnyyrq "Mnatjryy Neebj."
Naq, cyrnfr abgr, jr Erchoyvpnaf unir n ybg bs pngpuvat hc gb qb orsber jr pna rira pbzcrgr va gur neran bs jvyq, hafhofgnagvngrq pynvzf nobhg ibgvat veerthynevgvrf. Gur Pyvagba Arjf Argjbex vf fgvyy ehaavat 6 ubhe vairfgvtngvir cvrprf nobhg fcnpr nyvraf vagvzvqngvat oynpx sbyxf va Qhiny Pbhagl va abegurea Sybevqn va 2000. Naq v guvax v urneq Wnzrf "Tbyyhz" Pneivyyr nyyrtvat gung Wreel Snyjryy unq nvecynarf fcenl n qrzragvn-vaqhpvat nrerfby bire Cnyz Ornpu Pbhagl juvpu pnhfrq ryqreyl wrjf gb ibgr sbe Cng Ohpunana. V pna'g rira xrrc hc jvgu gur ulfgrevn bire Buvb naq gur fvavfgre vzcyvpngvbaf bs gur obgpurq rkvg cbyyf.
Ohg v jvyy wbva lbh va pbaqrzavat gur erchoyvpnaf vs gurl ghea gur ryrpgvba guebhtu n znwbevgl-shryrq znahrire va gur ubhfr.
Nothing you stated at all applied to Hubert Vo and Talmadge Heflin. I know the district fairly well and know that James Carville is not a registered voter there.
Please enlighten us as to what Andy Taylor is talking about with "illegal votes" counting and "legal votes" not counting.
If this completely unfounded accusation is so, I would expect Mr. Taylor to contribute a chunk of his $400 an hour salary to whoever is running against this unethical official running this crazy County Clerk's Office: Republican Beverly Kaufman and Republican David Burne (of Dade County Florida fame). Seriously, I expect you to end your post with "Anybody but Kaufman" from now until you host her opponents victory party.
Abelard, lead the charge! County officials cost Heflin this election! How could such a party with moral and fiscal conservative prinicipals have these two unethical and mathmatically challenged officals in office!Republicans can't stand for this! Think about those poor, intimated folks in 772! Will they ever trust Republicans to count the votes again? (Please note the lack of Lord of the Rings references as this fantasy only exist in the mind of Andy Taylor and no one else in Middle Earth, Alief, or anywhere else in Harris County).
However, the facts say that every vote has been counted, now they will be counted again. How many times does Hubert Vo have to win until Talmadge Heflin realizes he loses? I thought he was out of touch with his district, but this goes way beyond that.
Recounts are fine, but lawyers who throw out baseless charges, well that sounds like Ronnie Earle. Republicans and Democrats support numbers, and in this case, the numbers support Vo.
I'm honestly ready for this "race" to be over. :)
As Mr. Taylor goes -- well, that's what campaign operatives frequently do in situations like this. I don't expect Dems to like it, any more than I especially like it when the same thing happens with the other party in other close races. I'm not gonna say anyone has to like it, but that's bare knuckle, street fight politics for ya. I honestly hope it doesn't go beyond what we've seen so far, which I would call mild to moderate, but it may, especially if the Heflin folks can turn up evidence of fraud (which I doubt, but they've brought it up).
Here's a question for Charles, though -- You have been a BIG advocate of proper paper ballot audit trails, and I agree with you. Complete hypothetical (and given my recent disdain for hypotheticals, you're welcome to throw it back in my face!) -- If the e-slate totals change significantly, maybe even enough to justify a new election under House procedures, would it be worth it to you because it would drive home the need for a transparent (paper) audit trail?
I think Vo wins a new election anyway. But I do think it would be a GREAT opportunity to shore up some of our concerns as citizens (not partisans) about e-voting machines. If it happens, that is. Thoughts?
They have all of us watching the recount, and the contest is going to hit in the back of the head!
This is the wrong time to be talking about e-slates. You are about to see some real fancy footwork here. They are setting it up for a chellenge in the House, and it won't matter to Joe Crabb and his ilk even if Vo GAINS votes in a recount.
The fix is in, and if you're not watching, Craddick wins. If there is any more talk about these machines, the Repulicans are going to try to look solemn, and they'll say "We ought to just have a new election", while they were planning on it the whole time.
They hold all the cards here: Repulican County Clerk, Republican Secretary of State, Republican House, Repulican Speaker. Look out for their end game, not there misdirection.