J. Goodwille Pierre, who lost his Harris County judicial race by 230 votes, has filed a lawsuit claiming that improperly rejected voter registrations and provisional ballots cost him that election.
[H]is lawsuit focuses instead on Harris County voting controversies being aired in a separate federal lawsuit brought against the county by the Texas Democratic Party.
Both suits now allege that outgoing Tax Assessor-Collector Paul Bettencourt, a Republican who also serves as voter registrar, rejected legitimate voter registration applications.
Pierre's lawsuit also cites a non-partisan ballots board's rejection of about 5,800 ballots cast by voters who, according to records from Bettencourt's office and other agencies, had not been properly registered. The ballot board chairman said some of the ballots, after being processed by Bettencourt's staff, had information obscured by correction fluid.
"Had all persons who cast a vote in this race been allowed to have their vote counted; it would have changed the outcome of the election by providing Pierre with more votes than Joseph "Tad" Halbach," the suit said. "Moreover, various irregularities make it impossible to ascertain the true outcome of the election."
On that note, the Lone Star Project takes a look at the Bettencourt business:
Less than six weeks after asking Harris County voters for another four-year term as Tax Assessor Collector, Republican Paul Bettencourt is bailing out on them - perhaps to avoid answering legal questions about pending litigation charging him with illegal partisan activity. Bettencourt's resignation comes just one day after a federal court was asked to schedule a deposition to require him to testify under oath about his involvement in alleged partisan efforts to avoid counting thousands of provisional ballots cast during the November General Election.
In a press statement made very late Friday, December 5th, Bettencourt made no mention of the pending legal complaint, but instead said he was leaving office to accept a lucrative offer from the private sector. (Houston Chronicle, December 6, 2008) He refused, however, to identify his new employer and failed to comment on the terms of the offer, stating that providing the name of his new employer would violate conflict of interest statutes.
Using some very "creative" logic, Bettencourt rationalized that identifying his new employer now would create a conflict of interest, but that it was okay to meet with and negotiate an employment agreement with the employer while he was a county officeholder in the midst of an election campaign. Bettencourt's backroom deal deserves even more scrutiny after ABC13's Miya Shay speculated that Bettencourt will, "be fighting people's property tax hikes for a fee." ( ABC13 Political Blog )