Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I’ll See Your Lawsuit and Raise You One “Boutique” Law Firm

Dallas County Commissioners today have decided to wade into the HD 105 fray by voting to hire a “boutique law firm headquartered in Dallas,” the Munck Carter law firm that is said to “specialize in election law.” As found in the Dallas Morning News.

This is in response to the recent lawsuit filed by the Texas Democratic Party over how the Dallas County Elections Office is effecting the HD 105 recount, which presently has the Republican incumbent Harper-Brown in the lead by 20 votes over her Democratic opponent Bob Romano.

The TDP, in a news release, filed the lawsuit to prevent the Dallas County Elections Office from complying with a ruling by Republican State Attorney General Greg Abbott that would “change the election rules in the middle of the game, ignoring Department of Justice requirements that demand pre-clearance for changes.”

In their lawsuit, the TDP is requesting that the elections office “be required to count for each candidate the straight-party votes from electronic voting machines not tallied during the initial count because no candidate was chosen.”

In this argument, the Democratic Party seeks to include so-called “emphasis votes” where an ill-informed voter votes a straight party ticket, but then votes for the candidate again in the next electronic ballot screens. Rather than adding emphasis, the voter actually deselects the candidate that they so energetically wish to elect.

Abbott has ruled that this doesn’t need to occur.

The TDP cried foul in their lawsuit, saying that the votes were therefore not counted under the same rules, enfranchising some voters and disenfranchising others.

Shades of Bush v. Gore.

Well Dallas County isn’t taking this lying down, and in a move that is beginning to look more and more like the judicio-political 5 act play that took place in Florida in November to December 2000, the commissioners court has upped the stakes.

And the reason they (and Greg Abbott) are doing this couldn’t be clearer. If Romano succeeds in winning the race as the results of the recount favor him, the State House becomes a 75 to 75 tie, with neither party in the majority.

And wouldn’t that be just too bad if that happens? If that happens, Republicans will actually have to start making deals and compromises in their legislation. They might have to give up on plans for Voter ID laws and other tools of voter suppression.

Things might actually get done that might help things get better around here.

Not a pretty picture, huh?

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