Saturday, August 28, 2010

When All Else Fails . . .

Burn up the voting machines.

It really can’t get more obvious than this, can it? 52 days before Early Voting starts for this pivotal 2010 midterm election, Harris County, one of the most populous counties in the state of Texas, representing 15% of those who vote in elections, lost each and every one of their Hart InterCivic eSlate voting machines in a warehouse fire on Friday.

The fire was first reported in the wee small hours of the morning.

But Houston’s arson investigators still don’t have a clue as to how the fire was started.

Hart InterCivic doesn’t have a clue either. They just don’t know how many new and used eSlate machines they have in their current inventory. Gosh darn it all, no one keeps a count, it seems.

Now there has been a lot made of the fact that Harris County, which encompasses most of the City of Houston is a Bill White stronghold, and that a voter suppression effort on the part of Republicans, you know, like burning up all the voting machines, would most probably help Rick Perry retain the Governor’s office. But I’m not so sure that this was the intent here. There is so much more at stake in 2010.

With Democrats holding 73 House District seats, Democrats are just 3 seats away from taking control of the State House in 2011. Need I remind you of the fact that 2011 will be the year that Texas redraws its congressional boundaries? Need I also remind you of the fact that Texas stands to gain 3 additional Congressional seats as a result of population growth recorded by the 2010 census?

This is a huge, huge year. That we stand a good chance of replacing a rightwing reactionary Republican governor with someone who actually knows how to get things done is really beside the point.

Look at local state house races for instance. Dwayne Bohac of HD 138, entirely within Harris County is an ethics-challenged candidate who has lots of experience in voter suppression. If Dwayne Bohac can be turned out of office by Kendra Yarbrough Camarena we are a third of the way toward the goal of retaking the State House.

Likewise Kristi Thibault. Thibault took HD 133, also entirely within Harris County, away from Republican Jim Murphy in 2008 by a mere 497 votes and is set for a rematch with Murphy this fall. A loss there could offset a possible win by Camarena.

Want a formula on how to hijack an election, arguably in a local sense, an election that is actually more important than the one in 2008? First, go paperless. Have voting machines where there is no paper trail to record who actually won the election.

Then burn them all up.

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