The Voting Problems

It’s safe to say that local Republicans didn’t mind the voting problems at locations which opened late or were short-staffed at the beginning of Election Day. When supplies were running low at some locations, though, all of a sudden they wanted to be a protected class. So goes the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. It’s all about them–especially when they lose.

Don’t worry, Rethugs, I was almost a victim of those damn printers, too. (Did you hear that HC Elections was counting emergency ballots yesterday?)

I voted on the first day, being the responsible kind of voter who fears dying between Day 1 of early voting and Election Day and not having my vote counted. Though the polling location (Tracy Gee Center) was busy and the configuration of the room between check-in and voting was backwards, I got through that process. Unfortunately, when it came to pushing in the 2nd ballot sheet into the printer, it jammed. Badly! The first couple of lines printed before it skewed badly and injured the paper.

I immediately called up a poll worker who literally had to pull the sheet out, had me put my name on yellow sticky on the ballot while he found a supervisor. I stayed at my polling station, hoping that my vote wasn’t lost. Thankfully, a supervisor brought a new sheet, the poll worker ran it through, and the 2nd page was printed. Finally, both sheets went through the scanner and I was done, placing the I VOTED sticker on my mask. Yes, I still mask.

Anyway, voters need to check their paper print-outs to ensure everything printed out. We have these “paper trails” that were demanded by people for a reason. I thought the paper trail was going to be cash register receipt of my choices for ME, but so much for that.

Thanks to the good folks who committed to working for Harris County Elections for ensuring my vote counted.

Now, the staffing shortages and paper shortages do need to be addressed. The paper trail part is state-mandated now, so, maybe more staff to run a q-tip with alcohol on the rubber thingies that pull the ballot paper in are needed. I don’t know. You got paid people for that. But more paper kept in accessible secure locations or something!

But is this a blatant, purposeful violation of ones voting rights? It’s an inconvenience for sure, but we have 782 voting locations on Election Day that a voter can vote at. At least in my neighborhood, from Tracy Gee I could go down the street to one of the Chinese Cultural centers off Corporate to vote. A little further and I have the Alief ISD polling station. The options were plentiful. We just haven’t gotten people out of the mentality that they don’t have to vote JUST in their neighborhood.

The options were also plentiful for people who somehow didn’t pay attention to all the TV attack ads and mail reminding them that there was an election–early voting and Election Day–yet decided to give up when the one location they went to didn’t open up on time. Or didn’t realize it until they got a text that election day was extended by an hour (to vote on a provisional ballot that may or may not be counted).

Now, some might say, “How Republican of you, Stace, to have these thoughts.” But there were two million people in downtown sweating it out (and stinking it up) for the Astros a day before, I figure driving a few miles to a polling location wouldn’t be that big a deal. Maybe I’m just experiencing less faith in humanity. I wonder why.

Is there voter suppression? Of poor and ethnic folks? Hell yeah. Which is why we have early voting for two weeks, a late night of early voting, a weekend of early voting, and 782 locations to vote at on Election Day.

Do folks still have issues getting to vote? Of course! Especially by mail. The Republicans have improved their voter suppression tactics to include racist mailings to go along with their racist policies that make people give up on democracy. Gerrymandering is voter suppression, too. But given the fact that 9 million people in Texas (a million or so here in Houston) didn’t show up to vote, it’s safe to say that a lot of folks just weren’t giving a shit and for a whole lot of reasons. And that’s a whole other discussion to have, but other than forced voting, I’m not sure what a good solution is.

I’m proud to be the son of Tacho and Flora who instilled in me a love of voting and participating in the political process. And believe me, I went through a phase this summer of wondering if I should even bother, but that subsided when I saw all of the lies and misinformation by Fascist Mack and MagaMealer and “Judicial Fairness PAC.” But I guess 9 million others in Texas don’t want to be like me.

Needless to say, Republicans, your rights were not violated. Inconvenienced? Sure. And the rights of Democrats at those voting locations, too, but you didn’t seem to care about them. But there is a lot of that going on, mostly because of Republican policies.

QEPD: Harold Cook

Growing up as a political operative-wannabe, I always admired the work of Harold Cook; especially during the days of Ann Richards. As a college kid, had I known him then, I’d probably want to be “the next Harold Cook.” So, when I started Dos Centavos and joined a group of Texas political bloggers, I was sort of in awe (at least in an e-mail group) to be in a group that included Harold.

When we finally formally met, it was at St. Arnold’s Brewery during one of the Texas Dem Convention parties. Talk about a Texas-sized hug. He had so much knowledge of Texas Politics and was quite the strategist. But he also had a wit that was so sharp that whomever it was aimed at didn’t know who sliced them up until they’d bled out. So, he was one of my influences during this time of DosCentavos.net.

I was so saddened to hear of his untimely passing. Shocked. Mad. And then sad, again. How could he do this to us? Right? While our political conversations were always interesting, I always felt honored when he left a comment on a photo of one of my food creations, inviting himself or placing an order to deliver to his Western Headquarters. He’ll be missed by those who followed him on social media, for sure. To those who were closest to him, I know they’re going through a lot of emotions. My thoughts are with his family and friends. And Travis the Goofy Dog.

Regarding Letters From Texas (his website/blog) and why he included political satire with his expert analyses, he told Culture Map Austin in 2012, “I think many participants in the political process take themselves way too seriously.” He definitely lightened up Texas politics–at least for those who wanted to be in the thick of it.

Here’s Quorum Report’s statement from Harold’s Family:

Friends and family passed along this statement

Longtime political advisor and commentator Harold Cook died suddenly at his “Western Headquarters” in Marathon.

Not surprisingly, he made it to one last election day.

Harold’s first political job was serving as an aide to State Representative Debra Danburg. He went on working closely with Land Commissioner Gary Mauro, Texas Secretary of State John Hannah Jr.. and dozens of other elected officials and organizations.

Notably, Harold managed the 11 Democratic state senators who broke quorum in 2003 and held out for 46 days in Albuquerque.

Harold later became a featured commentator on Time Warner’s Capitol Tonight, often providing astute observations with an acidic wit.

Harold Lee Cook was born January 16, 1961 in Houston. He is survived by his beloved sister Martha and his loyal dog Travis. Services are pending.

Election 2022 Results

Congrats to County Judge Lina Hidalgo. She fought off an all-out attack from Fascist Mack, his millionaire buddies and his puppet of a candidate, consistently adding to her lead as the votes were counted throughout the night. Other Dems, including District Clerk Marilyn Burgess and County Clerk Teneshia Hudspeth return to their jobs, and Dr. Carla Wyatt will take over as County Treasurer in January. Amy Hinojosa and Andrea Duhon return to the Harris County Dept of Education board, too.

We will have a new Pct. 4 County Commissioner as Lesley Briones pushed on through to defeat the no-show incumbent. With Judge Hidalgo and Commish Adrian Garcia earning re-election, Harris County Commissioner’s Court will now have four (4) Democrats–a supermajority that can ensure strong budgets and policies are passed whether GOPer Tom Ramsey shows up or not. Some say this isn’t a mandate, but after all the hate-mongering and money wasted by the other side, I think Harris County did achieve a strong mandate for progressive values and policies.

With all of the attack ads full of misinformation and fear-mongering against “Democrat Judges,” Dems lost a few judicial races, including 180th District Judge Dasean Jones. Of course, the local Dem DA assisted in the bail-related fear-mongering, so, I hope Judge Jones stays close and challenges the DA in 2024. There were several sitting judges who were “in the news” regarding bonds and releases, but it seems Republicans honed in on African-American judicial candidates because they are the ones that lost. The non-Black judges seemed to cruise into re-election. Just an observation.

That said, I’m surprised nothing was said about all the corporate money that was used to create the Republican “crime” message that attacked all of the judges. The money came from Texans for Lawsuit Reform, a very dead Sheldon Adelson’s Vegas gambling corporation, and other non-crime, non-law enforcement-related corporations. They were trying to buy civil court judges, people! They didn’t care about crime.

Well, Democrats haven’t elected anyone statewide for over 25 years, and that reality continues. South Texas continues to add to Republicans’ bottom line, and anything over 35-40 % of the vote in those counties will keep the GOP strong statewide–even as suburban areas “liberalize.” Whether it’s “moderate” Democrats who fail to do anything about educating the South Texas public about progressive issues, Christian fundamentalism that creeps into politics, or South Texas voters falling for right-wing hate-mongering as if they aren’t included in the attacks, it’s a problem. A message problem for Democrats.

Thankfully, at the local level Democrats are still in charge in most of South Texas–even Starr County. It is gerrymandering that ensured right-wing victories in CD-15 and CD-23. There’s a lot to unpack and discuss about South Texas, but as long as Nancy Pelosi feels the need to help sell-outs like Henry Cuellar during Democratic Primaries, the party pendejadas will continue.

Bexar County had a good night, as did Travis County and Dallas County. For some reason, Republicans targeted Harris County, finding and exploiting weaknesses in our bottom line. Fortunately, they ran mediocre (yet well-funded) candidates with awful puppeteers (Fascist Mack, Steve Hotze, etc.) and exploited crime victims in creating a fear-based message. Democratic activists were still successful in the ground game, despite the daily vitriol on TV. Kudos to them. [Travis County Note: Good luck to Celia Israel as she moves on to a Mayoral run-off, and to Jose Velasquez in Austin City Council District 3 run-off.]

While Dem faithful seem to have adopted Greg Abbott’s “it could’ve been worse” line after the results were finally posted, given results in other urban areas of the state which were strong for Democrats, perhaps something needs to be discussed. The activism is working, but the media response to right-wing lies leaves much to be desired. Also, it might help reminding voters how great our elected officials are–at least those that are great. But, hey, we won!

Anyway, Dems have some work to do for 2024, including having a cleaner, more meaningful slate that runs together and supports itself from top to bottom. Of course, this is also something to think about for the 2023 local elections as we remember who, from those in the running for Mayor and Council, stood up for our Democratic slate and who did not.

And somebody educate the local newsreaders about the political and election process before they go on TV. The overdramatization of the last eight ballot boxes was quite annoying.

Kuff has more. And I thought I was the only one making hand gestures at homes with Mealer signs.

Today is Election Day 2022!

Well, it all comes down to today. If you haven’t voted early, then please get it done today!

  • Find your sample ballot by clicking here.
  • Find a polling location anywhere in Harris County by clicking here.
  • VOTE FOR ALL OF THE DEMOCRATS

Here are some truths.

Vote to Re-Elect Judge Lina Hidalgo. She has served us well through disasters, a pandemic, and especially through the day-to-day affairs of the County. She shows up for work, which cannot be said about Republican commissioners, like Jack Cagle and Tom Ramsey. If you want our county services left intact, if you want the Sheriff funded, and if you want to ensure our medical services still exist next year, then we must keep the Democratic majority. And that means re-electing Judge Hidalgo and electing Lesley Briones for Pct 4 Commissioner.

The local furniture guy does not support the best interests of the people of Harris County. He puts on a good show, but he falls short of caring for anything that doesn’t get him a tax dodge or hedge his business risks, like betting on the Astros to pay for all of “free” furniture. He’s a tax-dodging, MAGA-supporting, election-denying gambling addict, and Alex Mealer doesn’t fall far from those descriptors. Don’t tolerate whiny Republicans who will gamble away your rights and your own livelihood to enrich themselves.

And what about “Democrat Judges”? They have served us well, ensuring fairness and justice in the criminal and civil courts. The money for all of those anti-Democrat Judge ads is coming from a a few donors who do not care about your safety. Corporate groups like Texans for Lawsuit Reform (they have nothing to do with crime), Las Vegas Sands Company (which probably gets a lot of money from at least one local gambling addict, Trinity Equity Partners, Don McGill Toyota, and some other millionaires who don’t care about your safety, but care about buying civil court judges for their own benefit and that of their rich buddies. Vote for the Democrats if you want your best interests guarded.

We need Beto O’Rourke, Rochelle Garza and the Democrats at the top of the ballot to end the political career of Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton and the rest of the Republicans who threaten our livelihoods everyday. So, vote accordingly.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance says that the only thing scarier than Halloween is not voting. Think about that while you read this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff notes the remarkable case of the Libertarian candidate for Attorney General endorsing Democratic candidate Rochelle Garza because he sees Ken Paxton as such a threat to freedom.

SocraticGadfly looks at the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ craven collapse to Biden and leadership on Ukraine, despite the fact that the majority of Americans say they want the US to lead the push for a negotiated solution.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Houstonia introduces you to the seven families behind some of Houston’s best-known restaurants.

Jef Rouner does not have a favorite conspiracy theory.

Your Local Epidemiologist reports on the triple threat of RSV, COVID, and the flu.

Texas 2036 reviews our performance on the National Report Card.

Texas Monthly says it’s OK to fear the robot dogs that I had previously had no idea about and thus hadn’t been worried about before now.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance exhorts everyone to go vote as they bring you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff interviews Rochelle Garza, who would be the best Attorney General the state has had since the 90s if elected.

SocraticGadfly has two strategery thoughts related to the midterms nationally, namely that neither inflation whataboutism of the Pelosi stripe, nor “But Republicans” (and the implied “Only Republicans” by Team Blue activists on entitlements privatization, are likely to work well with independent-minded independent voters.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Dallas Observer reports on the violence that Texas nurses are seeing at their workplaces.

The Houston Press lists ten MRA and incel red flags to look for. Texas 2036 explores the fear of losing access to water.

In the Pink Texas would like to have some words with undecided voters.

Paradise in Hell shakes his head at the DNA kit rollout in Texas elementary schools.

2022 Early Voting Begins Monday 10/24

Today is the first day of Early Voting for the 2022 General Election. Here’s the important info:

FIND YOUR SAMPLE BALLOT HERE

FIND YOUR EARLY VOTING LOCATION HERE Or Print a PDF EV Location Sheet

VOTE EARLY! VOTE FOR ALL OF THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES! And vote for all of the Harris County Bond Propositions!

This is a very important election from the top to the bottom of the ballot. Vote in every race.

Personally, though, I’ll be skipping over Democrats who failed to endorse our County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Kudos to Mayoral candidate Chris Hollins for pointing out that one particular Democratic officeholder who has failed to endorse a couple of Latina candidates.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance has three cheers for a jury in Connecticut along with its weekly roundup.

Off the Kuff re-posts interviews with Janet Dudding, candidate for Comptroller, and Jay Kleberg, candidate for Land Commissioner.

SocraticGadfly offers his thoughts on what’s next for Tulsi Gabbard.

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And here are some posts from other Texas blogs.

Texas Monthly interviews Secretary of State John Scott and tries to get him to understand why there are so many crazy people shouting about bogus election conspiracies.

Reform Austin reviews the 31 anti-Greg Abbott videos produced by Oscar-nominated director Richard Linklater.

The Texas Signal takes issue with the Houston Chronicle’s endorsement of Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo’s opponent.

Grits for Breakfast presents the incredible history of the Texas prison system baseball league.

The Bloggess grapples with the thumbs up emoji.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for some MLB playoffs as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff published interviews with Susan Hays, Democratic candidate for Ag Commissioner, and Luke Warford, Democratic candidate for Railroad Commissioner.

SocraticGadfly says that a certain strain of environmentalists should stop trying to push nuclear as part of the solution to the climate crisis.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Texas 2036 published its fifth Texas Voter Poll to assess general attitudes about the state.

Paradise in Hell does another fine job translating Donald Trump.

The Texas Signal recaps the Ken Paxton Scandal catalog.

The TSTA Blog scorns the imposters who pretend to be addressing public safety and school security.

The Dallas Observer finds a new reason why millennials love craft beer.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes all obstacles could be batted aside with a NASA satellite as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff follows up his mockery of Ken Paxton with a note about what Paxton was really running from and why it mattered.

SocraticGadfly talks about Judge Pitman screwing over third-party candidates in Texas.

Stace reminds us that Greg Abbott’s border sideshow continues to cause death and waste.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Houstonia reports on Houston’s Afro-Latino Garifuna community and how it’s keeping its culture alive.

Melissa Fletcher Stoeltje remembers the impact of legal abortion with no regrets.

The Dallas Observer finds your new favorite subreddit.

In The Pink Texas goes back to her roots by recasting a political saga as a rom-com.

Your Local Epidemiologist brings a fall bivalent booster update.

Michael Li explains the Alabama redistricting case now before SCOTUS and its possible implications for the Voting Rights Act.