Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Texas Attorney General Agrees to End Voter Suppression; Claims Victory

Only in Texas can an elected official completely cave on significant voter suppression issues, and then turn around and claim absolute victory. This is exactly what happened today as 6 plaintiffs who filed suit in federal district court over Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s voter fraud attacks on minorities and senior citizens, agreed to drop their lawsuit.

According to the Lone Star Project which spearheaded the lawsuit, this settlement was a victory for Texas voters:

“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”

In exchange for this agreement, the plaintiffs agreed to drop the lawsuit. Obviously the Attorney General was in a territory that was part of the Bush/Rove voter suppression culture of 2006 and before, but this culture has since fallen into disrepute with senate investigations on the firing of 8 US Attorneys. Attorneys who refused to go along with Karl Rove’s orders to actively prosecute individuals in dubious cases of voter fraud.

This didn’t stop Greg Abbott from congratulating himself for his sly and slick maneuvering against these Democratic activists. From his website:

“Election fraud is a serious crime that undermines our democratic system of government,” said Attorney General Greg Abbott. “After more than a year and a half of pre-trial maneuvering and discovery, the plaintiffs discovered that their claims were without basis in fact or law. Today’s dismissal marks an important victory for the integrity of the electoral process”.


What is important is not who gets to claim victory. What is important is that the Attorney General will stop his hypertechnical interpretation of a 2003 law that governs mail-in ballots, stop prosecuting little old ladies, and stop the Attorney General’s people from peering into the bathroom windows of women as they take a shower.

But a “victory” claim by the Attorney General? I guess you can claim a victory when someone wins. And today, the voters of Texas are winners.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Abbott accidentally speaks the truth:

“Election fraud is a serious crime that undermines our democratic system of government,” said Attorney General Greg Abbott. “

Hey, Greg, what'cha doing prosecuting anything if you don't know the difference between election fraud and voter fraud?