Texans Together asks for Justice Department investigation of AG and Harris County

From the inbox:

Hello Friends:

We recently made a formal, written request to the U.S. Justice Department to immediately investigate Texas and Harris County officials for voter suppression in Harris County (see letter here). We are asking for a federal investigation of not only the Texas Attorney General’s Office, but also Harris County election officials for their long history of impeding minority voter registration and voting.

We believe the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector should be investigated thoroughly for their many years of wrongful registration denials and delays as well as their incompetent processing of registration applicants. We also are seeking an investigation that the Justice Department look at the apparent politicization of the Harris County Clerk’s election administration.

As for the Texas Attorney General’s Office (AG), our letter points out that the AG falsely accused Houston Votes of “voter fraud” and effectively shut down our voter registration drive in 2010. The AG’s theory was that our voter registration drive was engaged in felony identity fraud, for simply keeping records of the people we registered to ensure that County authorities properly registered them and so that we could remind them to vote. No wonder after raiding us with six officers with guns and flak jackets, and investigating for 11 months, the AG dropped their oppressive investigation without ever notifying us. Under its absurd theory, every voter registration and turnout drive in the country would be a criminal enterprise.

Again, you can view our letter here, or visit texanstogether.org for more information.

— Fred Lewis

See here for the background. Texas’ Congressional Democrats have also called for a federal probe of this. I don’t know what the odds are of this, especially given that there isn’t a US Attorney General right now, but I would certainly like to see a closer examination of this. One need only look at the dirt that was uncovered during the redistricting and voter ID litigation to understand that there are undoubtedly a few surprises yet to be discovered. We will definitely keep an eye on this.

Meanwhile, also from the Inbox, the Wendy Davis campaign is taking some steps to ensure that everyone who wants to vote can do so.

In the first of its kind effort in Texas, today the Wendy Davis Campaign is launching a new website, MyTexasVotes.com, as a digital hub for the campaign’s get out the vote efforts which will provide answers to questions voters may have about casting their ballots. On the site, Texans will be able to find out how to register to vote, commit to vote, find details about what to bring to the polls, find information on voting by mail and soon to be added, information to help voters find their polling place.

This unique digital push will be another tool in the unprecedented Davis grassroots campaign complimenting an extraordinary field effort to turn out voters, reaching them both online and in their neighborhoods.

“I am committed to ensuring all Texas voters are able to make their voice heard in this election,” Wendy Davis said. “MyTexasVotes.com marks the first one-stop site in the state to coordinate our unprecedented digital campaign with our strong ground game creating a get out the vote effort unlike Texas has ever seen.”

In addition to the website, for the first time ever, Texans will have access to a statewide voter protection hotline by calling 1-844-TXVOTES to have their voting questions answered by legal experts. The launch of MyTexasVotes.com comes about a week before voter registration ends on October 6.

Two weeks after Monday’s voter registration deadline is when early voting begins. That’s when the rubber really hits the road. You’ve heard me blather on incessantly about the Democratic turnout efforts that can and will have an effect on this year’s election. Well, one way to blunt that effect is to put up obstacles to voting. Everyone needs to keep an eye out for efforts to prevent people from voting. Here’s another way to help with that, from yet another email:

Protect the Vote 2014

This election is the first major statewide election with the controversial voter photo ID in place at the polls. Did you know that not all election workers are required to go through training?

This election is also the first major statewide election after the Shelby Supreme Court decision which removed a key provision of the Voting Rights Act, a landmark piece of Civil Rights legislation that men and women fought hard to achieve.

What can you do?

Become a Part of our Paid Poll Monitor Team in Harris County.

  • Assist and engage voters with commonly encountered problems at the polls
  • Report, document and prevent voter disenfranchisement
  • Make sure every eligible voter is able to vote free from harassment, intimidation or misinformation.

Stipends are available, up to $120 per day for shifts during Early Vote and Election Day.

The poll monitor program is non-partisan and fundamentally about protecting the right to vote for all people. All poll monitors must go through an election protection training. To sign up for a training, click here: ElectionProtection

See training schedule below. If you would like to request a private training for your organization or group or have any other questions, please contact [email protected].

The schedule, which is all for events in Harris County, is beneath the fold. For many reasons this year is more important than ever, but one of those reasons is because it looks like those voter registration efforts are paying off. According to a press release I received from the Harris County Tax Assessor, Harris County currently has 2,052,550 registered voters, of which 113,467 were registered this year. That’s as of September 30, which is to say six days before the voter reg deadline. As a point of comparison, the reg voter total cited in the November 2010 election was 1,917,534. That’s a pretty significant difference, and you can thank the efforts of BGTX and the HCDP for boosting that total. I look forward to seeing what the statewide numbers will look like. If they have a similar boost, I consider that a positive sign for November. We need everyone to do their part, not just to vote but to make sure everyone else can.

Sunday, October 5th at 2 p.m.
Holy Name Church
1912 Marion St.

Wednesday, October 8th at 12 p.m.
Texas Southern University
3100 Cleburne St.

Thursday, October 9th at 6:30 p.m.
S.H.A.P.E. Center
3903 Almeda Rd.

Friday, October 17th at 4:00 p.m.
UH Main University Center
4800 Calhoun Rd.

RSVP to [email protected] or 713-252-8467

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