Good news, from the Lone Star Project:
Events unfolded in dramatic fashion today in Marshall, TX. As the case was set to go to trial, the Plaintiffs, including the Texas Democratic Party and Democratic activists, were approached by lawyers for the State of Texas offering a settlement agreement. After negotiations, a settlement was reached that included the following terms:
- The Texas Attorney General has agreed to rewrite prosecution guidelines to reflect that voters who merely possess the ballot of another voter with that voter's consent will not be investigated or prosecuted unless there's evidence of actual fraud. Prosecutions will be limited to cases exists such as when a person illegally votes a ballot for another person or causes a person to vote for a different candidate than they wish.
- By agreeing to this settlement, the Texas Attorney General has essentially acknowledged that those who have been prosecuted to date for hypertechnical violations of failing to sign a mail ballot envelope did not commit any fraud, as he has falsely claimed for years.
- The Attorney General's filings in the case also revealed that two of the plaintiffs, Gloria Meeks and Rebecca Minneweather, were no longer under investigation, a point the Attorney General had failed to tell these voters.
- The Attorney General also agreed that the Secretary of State would change instructions to voters who vote by mail in 2008. The Secretary of State had already made changes to the ballot envelope and instructions to voters, acknowledging that such changes were made as a result of the lawsuit. The Attorney General and Secretary of State also agreed to consider additional revisions to voter instruction language that make it clear to voters, and those who assist them, the proper procedures for voting by mail. The Plaintiff will also help the Secretary of State's office create training materials and guidelines so those who help their neighbors vote will do so in accordance with the law.
- Plaintiffs agreed to drop all pending claims except for the pending challenge to the State's restriction on a person's acting as a witness on only one mail ballot application."