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Clinton's Letter to the TDP Seeking to Delay County Conventions


by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Sun Mar 16, 2008 at 09:22 AM CDT


The full text as forwarded to Burnt Orange Report for discussion.

March 14, 2008
BY FEDERAL EXPRESS, EMAIL AND FACSIMILE TO (512) 480-2500

Mr. Boyd L. Richie Chairman,
Texas Democratic Party
State Democratic Executive Committee
505 W. 12th Street, Suite 200
Austin, Texas 78701

Dear Chairman Richie:

We want to congratulate you on the extraordinary turnout of voters across the State of Texas who participated in the March 4 Democratic presidential primary and precinct conventions. We appreciate the unprecedented administrative challenges the high turnout presented. Fortunately, the Texas Democratic Party has under its Rules and the Texas Delegate Selection Plan requirements designed to ensure that the process in which eligible voters participate is fair and one in which they can have confidence, and when there are deficiencies, requirements to ensure that those deficiencies are rectified.

In this regard we are writing to express our concerns regarding the review and tally of the official results of the State Party's precinct conventions on March 4. As you are no doubt aware, there are significant questions about whether the precinct conventions were conducted in accordance with the Party's Delegate Selection Plan and Rules. On the night of the caucus itself we brought many instances of these irregularities to the attention of the State Party. The campaign received in excess of 2,000 complaints of rules violations, indicating widespread violations of the Party's rules, including the following specific occurrences that are clear violations of specific rules:

• Temporary Chair packets were released by the election judge prior to 7:00 pm

• Sign-in sheets were filled out before 7:00 pm

• Precincts were consolidated for purposes of holding a convention

• Precinct caucuses began before polls closed for the primary

• Ineligible participants voted or ineligible delegates were elected, including participants who were not registered voters, participants who did not vote in the primary, provisional voters whose votes were counted, and no verification was made of the eligibility of participants or delegates

• Accurate written records of participants, presidential preferences, and elected delegates were not kept

• Participants' names and presidential preference were entered on sign-in sheets by someone other than the eligible individual participant

• Results were taken from a head count or hand count rather than the written roll

• Delegate votes were not ratified by the precinct convention

• Failure to follow Robert's Rules of Order at the precinct convention

We have had several conversations with the State Party since March 4, including conversations with Chad Dunn, regarding the procedures that the State Party intends to follow to insure that the rules were followed and that only the votes of eligible participants would be considered. We understood that we were to receive a memorandum regarding that process, but were advised yesterday that instead we would be invited to a briefing on Monday, March 17.

Last week our Counsel, Lyn Utrecht, was told by Mr. Dunn that the State Party intended to verify the eligibility of participants and that the Party's IT people were working on a system for doing that electronically. On Tuesday the 11th, when Ms. Utrecht contacted Mr. Dunn to inquire about the status of the memorandum regarding the procedures, she was advised that the State Party no longer intended to verify the eligibility of participants or delegates because the Party would not have the ability to do that before the County Conventions. This was confirmed by Mr. Dunn yesterday.

Therefore, it is our understanding that the results will be counted and delegates awarded based on a count of votes without any and without any certification by the Precinct Chairs or County and Senate District Chairs that they completed a thorough review of the eligibility of participants and delegate candidates.

Thus it will be left to the campaigns to file credentials challenges against those delegates awarded based on the votes of ineligible participants, without the State Party making any effort to identify ineligible participants. We were advised yesterday that we will begin to receive copies of the scanned sign-in sheets sometime early next week and that it will not be until the end of next week when we will receive all of this data. In order to review this, the campaigns will also need access to the voter rolls to determine who voted in the primary held that day. While the State Party has indicated that it will request this information from the larger counties and provide it, it is unclear how soon that information will be available. For the smaller counties, the campaigns must request it from each county.

We believe this is in direct contravention of the Rules, which require that the Party determine the eligibility of participants and that only the votes of eligible participants are counted. Moreover, if the Party's reason for not ensuring that only eligible participants are counted is based on the fact that the Party cannot complete the review process prior to the scheduled date of the County and Senate District Conventions, the campaigns can't possibly complete this review in a timely fashion. Credentials challenges are presently due March 26.

We believe that (1) it is a violation of the Party's Delegate Selection Plan and Rules for the Party not to ensure that the eligibility of participants was determined before their votes are counted; and (2) if the Party cannot complete this task in time to hold the next level conventions on March 29, those conventions must be postponed until such time as accurate presidential preference counts can be made based on a review of each and every sign in sheet to determine eligibility of participants and delegates.

It is a violation of the rights of legitimate participants to have their true vote count distorted by violations of the Party's Rules.

It is the Party's responsibility to ensure the integrity of the precinct convention process by making sure that the Rules were followed and that the final official results of the precinct conventions are accurate and in compliance with the Rules.

Therefore, we respectfully request that the Party explain to both campaigns what procedures will be followed to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the precinct convention results and agree to postpone the County and Senate District Conventions until such time as that process can be completed.

We look forward to working with you to ensure that the votes of the people who participated in the March 4 primary and precinct conventions are accurately counted.

Sincerely,

Garry Mauro Authorized Representative
Guy Cecil National Political and Field Director

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Great lead (0.00 / 0)
Just wanted to comment on a cute journalistic lead regarding this story. From the Star-Telegram.

As Texans prepare to finish the "Texas two-step," at least one Democratic presidential hopeful is hoping to slow the dance down.


Ridiculous spin (0.00 / 0)
There is nothing cute about the spin in that lead. The more accurate thing to write would be...

...one Democratic presidential hopeful is hoping to 'ensure the accuracy and integrity of the precinct convention results' and asking that the TDP take the proper time to do so.  


[ Parent ]
I was commenting on it as a clever hook... (0.00 / 0)
...not on any side it appears to take. Having written lord knows how articles as a newspaper editor for 5 years as well as a guest columnist for the Texan, I can appreciate a fun lead. :)

[ Parent ]
Star-Telegram article (0.00 / 0)
Spokesman for the Obama campaign spinning this to be about disenfranchising the voters.


Obama's spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said the campaign does not support a delay.

"We don't think that the record-breaking number of Texans who stood up to be counted on March 4 would appreciate the Clinton campaign's attempt to disenfranchise them and silence their votes just because the outcome wasn't politically beneficial to Sen. Clinton," he said.



[ Parent ]
In my book... (0.00 / 0)
...what the Clinton officials are trying to do is change the results after the game has been played. It reminds me of a basketball team trailing by more than 30 points with less than two minutes left in the game demanding that the results of the whole game be nullified or that the worth of their own baskets be changed to 10 points each to their opponents' two. The Clinton campaign demand must be rejected out of hand and the delegation selection process must be allowed to move forward without any delay.

In our Precinct (0.00 / 0)
it was the (trained) Clinton camp that were the perpetrators of a lot of the violations listed in the letter.  One of the Hillary campaigners barged into the the polling location plastered with "Hillary" gear from head to toe.  It was about 6PM and she was demanding the precinct packet.  They had evidently been told the get possession of the packet and keep control of the caucus.  This particular woman had the police called out on her after a repeat of her stunt.

There were four Hillary campaigners that were trying to control our caucus in spite of the overwhelming majority there for Obama.  They had a lot of paper work that, upon closer inspection, was all geared specifically toward the Hillary campaign.  They had also printed out placards to wear around their necks to claim their "official" status.  Our precinct did not have a permanent chair and we had not yet voted on a chair, but one of them was try to claim that she was the "temporary chair" before anyone had even signed in.

My husband had attended training the night before that was done by the Denton Democratic Party.  That is how ANY training should have been received - not by the campaigns.

It almost appears to me that the Clinton campaign had set out to discredit the caucus before it ever began.

This same group has also been caught trying to go through the files at the county office trying to get the names and contact information of all of the delegates.  That is proprietary information of the Democratic party and the individual campaigns (either side) have no right to it.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
Wait (0.00 / 0)

I seem to recall Obamas people doing training for the caucus, how to take the lead and control the caucus.  Keep it away from the mean old Hillary people, and if you see anyone trying to play fast call the Obama camp.  I dont think we had any Hillary people attend our precinct convention.  An Obama supporter was the chair. I know there were questions with people who signed up, but at the time I brushed it off.  

[ Parent ]
There may have been (3.00 / 1)
I just know what I saw from our precinct.  

The point is that and "training" should have come from the Democratic Party and not either of the campaigns.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
Clinton supporters will reverse the precinct caucus results at the SDs (0.00 / 0)
They're already stuffing their people onto the rosters of the temporary credentials and rules committees, with the idea of denying the mostly-wet-behind-the-ears Obama delegates and alternates, denying them outright their credentials on various technicalities or slowing down an already protracted sign-in process.

I'm already seeing it happen in my SD.

My SD chair can't find a location that will hold all the delegates.  With 1522 anticipated, the gymnasium he has reserved will only hold 100-1200.  How can that be resolved within the rules?  His answer: overflow will be seated in a separate gymnasium or auditorium -- a clear violation of Sec. IV, Part C, #1, relating to County and Senate District Conventions: "The convention shall be held in a place easily accessible to the public and large enough to accommodate all the participants."

His b) answer:  "Not all the delegates show up anyway."

I'm not kidding.  He really said that.

He also said that it would cost $12-14K to move the SDC to a facility at the George R Brown convention center in downtown Houston, and that the SD treasury had a thousand bucks.  To overcome this he floated the idea of collecting "$25, up to a hundred dollars" from each delegate.  Any implication of an fee levied on delegates, even if the verbiage is couched as a "donation", is quite plainly illegal.

His response?

"Well, maybe you would like to write a check for $14,000 and solve this for us."

Do I need to point out that my SD chair is an avid Clinton supporter, and so are most of the people he has named to the temporary committees?

If the Obama people don't mobilize to counter the efforts of the Clinton operatives, they're going to get rolled on March 29.

Afflicting the comfortable via...


A call has come out from the state party (0.00 / 0)
that all committees be balanced.  I know that not all of them will necessarily achieve perfect balance, but they are at least aware of it and making efforts.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
Writing a Larger Post (0.00 / 0)
Do you have any source materials for your claims? I am working on a larger post and that would help.

[ Parent ]
I'm the source (0.00 / 0)
At the Harris CEC meeting last Thursday night, he made these statements to the SD caucus breakout.  There were at least twenty people present, mostly precinct chairs.

I would not have quoted him without witnesses, believe me.

Afflicting the comfortable via...


[ Parent ]
Who is... (0.00 / 0)
Who is the "he" you are referring to? Obama, the SD chair friend, etc...

Just making sure.


[ Parent ]
Replying off the board to you (0.00 / 0)
[ Parent ]
You could contact (0.00 / 0)
 Hon. Neil Durrance, Denton County Chair.  Please, however, do respect his time.  It has been crazy this week.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
and my convention chair (0.00 / 0)

is an Obama supporter, dont know about the precinct chair, never met her, I was getting the same type of response as you to my questions.  The more this goes on the more I feel, this isnt anything more than people trying to play boss and its my way or the high way.  No matter who they support.



[ Parent ]
if and when (3.00 / 1)
IF these things are true there is a problem with the results...enough to throw out the results?? Probably not. But the last article I read said that many precincts haven't even turned in their results. The Bexar County Chair DIDN"T EVEN KNOW if all the boxes were in or not!!!!!! They don't even have a freakin' checklist to intake boxes.

WHEN we finally get this wrapped up, we've got to get our legislative leaders together in a room and devise legal protections for caucus votes.

FYI: in every election I have worked for the last 12+ years, there have been anecdotal evidence of improprieties and missed procedure.  You always get someone calling the HQ on election day to report some wild story from somewhere about the 100-foot rule, assisting of voters, paraphenalia at the poll, not allowed to vote, etc.

As the current system is entirely imperfect and not designed at all to insure accurate results, I'm not sure you can hold it to the same standard (legally) that you would a real election.

Furthermore, it is extremely difficult to "contest" an election which you cannot duplicate.  Therefore, the only legal option (from my election recount/contest experience...I'm not a lawyer) would be to disqualify certain votes and/or results.

This would almost certainly target black voters (in the case of Hillary).  Obama would have little choice but to contest Hispanic voters.

All bad things for the TDP.

Seems like if the TDP took the bull by the horns and got a handle on this stuff, we could avoid a lot of this discussion.

When your state party says:

the State Party no longer intended to verify the eligibility of participants or delegates

you're in big trouble and asking for legal action.

The bright lights were brighter than ever and it certainly doesn't appear to the world at large that the TDP was ready to execute or even process the results.

We've got a lot of work to do to get new rules and new protections in place.

Please refer to KT's signature.


Why don't you help the Bexar County party out? (0.00 / 0)
Volunteer for a few hours at the Bexar County Democratic Party office and you'll see why the priority has been to compile a list of delegates and alternates to whom notice of the convention will be sent, while also looking for irregulatiries on the sign-in sheets.

You will discover why there is no "freaking checklist" yet. (Actually, there are several checklists, but the master list is still being compiled as the checklists for each senate district are being verified.) Here's one reason: there were some precincts that probably did not have a convention. We have 622 precincts in the county, many of them quite large, but about two dozen that are so small that they have no registered voters.


[ Parent ]
why don't you research? (0.00 / 0)
I'm just referencing the quote the party chair gave to the express news last week.

she said they didn't know what was in or outstanding.

take it up with her, dude.

I don't care how many precincts a county has.  Somehow we manage to get all of the totals in from all of those precincts. Surely, 3 weeks later we should be able to round up all the precinct convention reports...or at least be able to say what is missing.

Please refer to KT's signature.


[ Parent ]
No thanks, you can do your own research (0.00 / 0)
How can you say "we should be able to round up all the precinct convention reports" when instead of "we" you really mean the volunteers who are working as hard as they can to get the delegate lists ready for the convention while you sit back and take potshots?

I'm not going to "take it up with her, dude." I know what work she is doing, and that work is far more urgent than calculating totals that might satisfy your curiosity.


[ Parent ]
wow (0.00 / 0)
i understand you wholeheartedly support obama. that's fine with me.

i'm not taking any potshots at "volunteers". i've talked consistently over the past 2 weeks about the importance of protecting EVERY caucus vote...not just your candidate's or the clinton votes.

the process is severely flawed and we've got to fix it moving forward.

for some reason you contested a fact...that vela said she didn't know what boxes were in or out. when i sourced my fact, you abandoned that argument, created a straw man and accused me of burning it down.

the hours i've volunteered to county parties and Dem campaigns? i couldn't bear to count them. and that includes the bexar county party.

if you can still see these posts from your high horse, re-read my first post and get the main point= this isn't about you, it is about a flawed process that has created a situation where many votes could be legally called into repeated legal question.

We should seriously prioritize a future fix to protect every legal vote in the precinct convention--just like we do in the primary.

Please refer to KT's signature.


[ Parent ]
Wrong again (2.00 / 2)
I caucused for Clinton and will continue to support her through the convention process. But I am disgusted with what Garry Mauro is doing on behalf of her campaign.

And I'm all in favor of a future fix to this process. Let's work on it in 2010 when we've had more time to think about the ramifications.

I never made any reference to your past work with county parties and Democratic campaigns. That doesn't really pertain to why you are irate that Carla Vela didn't know which precincts had reported yet. Had you been volunteering this week, you would understand. That was my point.


[ Parent ]
I don't remember either Clinton (0.00 / 0)
asking for these measures when Bill won our primaries.

Typical for TDP (0.00 / 0)

So first the TDP tells the Clinton campaign that they're going to verify the precinct results and then they change their mind because it's too hard.

As someone who has dealt with the TDP over the years while working for elected officials, consultants and campaigns, their total incompetence never surprises me and I have come to expect it.



frustrations here, too (0.00 / 0)
I'm not going to say which campaign our county chair is affiliated with because it wouldn't be right regardless...but he is definitely using his knowledge of the system and everyone else's lack of or new knowledge to favor his candidate.

And I keep seeing "delegates can change their minds" over and over and we know where that is coming from. Apparently this mantra is being extended to cover the pledged delegates won in the primaries that don't cast their official vote until the State Convention. My SD should go 2-2 because the percentage was not there for a 3-1 split. I am worried that by confusing, or just flat out disenfranchising voters that we are going to see a shift in the pledged delegates, too.

At least the county broke down and reported that the convention site was changed.

When will we know if these conventions are indeed delayed?  


Some delays are simply because they are trying to find larger venues (0.00 / 0)
and not because of any foul play or legal actions.  This is just a crazy election season.  Who knew there were still so many Democrats in Texas?

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
Speaking as a Lawyer... (3.00 / 2)
that letter is clearly and unmistakably the foundation for a complaint for injunctive relief.

Next, find a gullible judge/Clinton supporter who will issue the injunction against the convening of the SD conventions on 3/29, and run out the clock on emergency appeals.  Then, once the 29th is safely past, reverse course, and find that state law mandates that the SD conventions be on that date.  In any event, contend that the whole process is therefore flawed, impossible of accomplishment and must be dumped.  Then, contend that the Texas voters spoke in the primary, and so the final and complete pledged delegate count from Texas is 65-61 or 66-60.  The caucuses?  In Emily Litella's immortal words: "Never mind".

Is there any knowledgeable Clinton supporter who will aver and attest that the scenario above isn't, nearly exactly, the game that is afoot?

And is there any Obama supporter/caucus attendee/prospective delegate-alternate who won't be absolutely enraged as this sorry, (should be) shameful scenario plays out?

So go right ahead, Gary and Guy.  But as you do, I commend this article to your attention:
http://www.tnr.com/politics/st...


Could this then (0.00 / 0)
end up being the death of the Democratic Party in Texas?

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
That would be a good thing. (3.00 / 1)

One of the things I'm hoping for is that the influx of new participants in the Democratic Party in Texas is a complete housecleaning of the jokers who currently "run" the Texas Democratic Party.

[ Parent ]
I can't disagree with you there (0.00 / 0)
but I suspect it wouldn't survive as the "Democratic Party."  Texas especcially has had a very hard time keeping the party alive since Delay was in office.

 If this doesn't go well, I see a split coming with another party emerging.  

That, or so many people will feel disaffected to the point that they become apathetic again and walk away from the political process.  As cynical as I am, I could even envision that is exactly what some might like.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
Exactly! (1.00 / 1)
This is exactly what's going on. Intensive verification doesn't really help Clinton in South Texas so the strategy is to eventually throw out the caucuses altogether.

We've come full circle. A bunch of self indulgent boomers who imagine themselves to be "lifelong champions of civil rights" are doing everything in their power to suppress the vote. And all on behalf of someone as uninspiring as Hillary Clinton. Despicable, what a bunch of hypocrites.


[ Parent ]
Who really loses here? Democracy. (0.00 / 0)
Moving back slightly from the details that political wonks like people on blog boards ( like me) get caught up in, and looking at the forest instead of the trees, what I see is voters who are damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Voters get guilted for not voting, not caring, not showing up.  I was a member of Harryette Everhardt's voting PAC in  Dallas County in '04, and worked to try to get out the vote, to no avail. I was a poll watcher for my precinct in '04.  Barely 300 people, total, bothered to vote.

Well, that was completely upended here on primary night.  When I caucused in my precinct there were about 200 people there for Sen. Clinton and close to 1000 for Sen. Obama.  I personally felt like I was living in a participatory democracy, for the first time in many years. The turnout numbers get a cursory mention every time this story is written about, just like they did in the letter above.  And then they are skimmed right past, into the so-called problems..

And of course the loser is going to tear the process down.  This is so damned predictable coming from Sen. Clinton - I knew she'd do this.    It's bad for the Democratic party and I wish to hell someone could get through Sen. Clinton's immense ambition to get that point across to her.  This is bad for Democrats,
end of story.

It seems to me that thousands of people turning up to try to have an affect on the future of the democracy is about as legitimate as it gets.  If our votes in the caucuses are nullified, a lot of people will turn their backs on the process for once and for all, I believe.  And one just might be me.


Five observations (4.33 / 9)
1) There were plenty of technical rules violations at the caucuses. Almost all of these were innocent mistakes by precinct chairs who were overwhelmed by the incredible turnout, and didn't matter at all. I, for one, was prepared for 10 times the 2004 turnout, but not for 40 times.

2) There were some cases of malicious rules violations, by both sides. Everything the Clinton campaign complains about is true, and the Obama campaign could make the exact same complaints. In a state as big as Texas, there are bound to be problems somewhere.

3) The state party's checking a million names, by hand, to determine eligibility is utterly impractical. It's the job of the thousands of (temporary) precinct convention chairs to do that, and 99% of us did so as fairly as we could.  

4) The Clinton campaign knows that, and is just trying to blow smoke. The goal isn't to get voter lists verified, or even to actually delay the county conventions (which won't happen). It's to pre-emptively cast doubt on the validity of the results.

5) Voter fraud only becomes an issue when you expect to lose. The Clinton campaign wants to have an unverified mail-in ballot in Florida, where they expect to win, but demands a second round of voter certification for the Texas caucuses, where they lost. (And yes, the Obama campaign is far more concerned with security in Florida than Texas, for the exact same reasons).  


I would give you a 5 (5.00 / 1)
but my username only goes up to 3.  

[ Parent ]
Did you notice... (3.00 / 1)
that one of their complaints was:

"Failure to follow Robert's Rules of Order at the precinct convention"?  


[ Parent ]
That's not a hard one to violate (0.00 / 0)
since a lot of them were completely new to the process.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
Poor Gen. Robert! (0.00 / 0)
I noticed that.  If violating Robert's Rules of Order is such a huge concern for the Clinton campaign that it belongs on their top-ten-infractions list, it really puts the rest of their list in perspective. How pathetic.

[ Parent ]
You've (0.00 / 0)
stated you are a Clinton supporter. But most of your posts are critical of her campaign. Sorry. I just don't believe you.

[ Parent ]
Oh, well (3.00 / 1)
I did caucus for Clinton. I will continue to do so throughout the convention process.

I do not support her campaign strategy or the people who are pursuing it.

My commitment to the Texas Democratic Party supersedes my commitment to Clinton. So when I see that her campaign is damaging the party, I'm going to criticize them for it. Shame on them.


[ Parent ]
prepared (0.00 / 0)
then be prepared to criticize every person who feels that our caucus process should be challenged for it's inability to properly manage the large turnout. The TDP is expected to make sure the caucuses are legit. Shame on them for not being prepared...right? or shame on the people who expose the party for their lack of accountability?

[ Parent ]
Criticizing people for how they feel is not my plan (3.00 / 1)
But I will criticize people who let their feelings lead them to measures so extreme that the whole convention process would be subverted if their efforts succeed.

However, let's consider the big picture.

Is it really necessary to prove that every one of the million caucus-goers voted in the primary?  Let's assume that the caucus results won't be entirely correct (a safe assumption), and for the sake of argument, let's suppose that the errors in the process disproportionately favored Obama (a questionable assumption). How would this be possible?  Let's go out on a limb and consider the worst-case scenario, one involving a massive effort to screw up the caucus at the precinct convention.

If such an effort would involve getting people to sign in who are not eligible, who would those people be:

People in the wrong precinct? Why wouldn't they be at the precinct convention for their own precinct? If this happened, it's probably the result of confusion rather than fraud. (It's hard to imagine anyone trying to figure out how to tip the scales by being a fraudulent "swing vote caucus-goer" without having pre-election precinct-specific polling data.) It did happen too frequently that people were in the wrong room in the case where multiple precincts shared the same polling place, so that voters went to the wrong precinct convention by mistake. No fraud there.

People who neglected to vote in the primary but just wanted to caucus? This seems to be what the Clinton campaign is trying to find. If they falsified the "Democrat" stamp on their voter registration card, that's a Class C misdemeanor under section 162.011 of the Election Code. But if they just skipped the primary and tried to caucus without being verified, they could affect the outcome, though not so much as if they had also voted. Is it conceiveable that the Obama campaign would have targeted such non-voters to turn them out for the caucus? Hardly. They were busy enough with the get-out-the-vote effort, which is more effective than trying to target non-voters anyhow.

People who voted in the Republican primary but want to take part in the Democratic caucus? That would violate section 162.004 of the election code, as it says on the primary election signature sheet. Also, according to section 162.013, it would void their Republican primary vote, and according to 162.014, if they would do so knowingly, that's a Class C misdemeanor.

People in the wrong county or from out of state? This is a real possibility, especially if it involves campaign workers barging in on the convention. They aren't likely to put their home state on the sign-in sheet.

People who are non-citizens?  Non-citizens can't register to vote, so they don't appear in the voter database. A campaign would have a hard time rounding up non-citizens to try to get them to caucus. And if they are undocumented immigrants, they certainly aren't going to risk getting in trouble with the law over an attempt to crash a precinct convention.

Much more plausible than any of these scenarios is the sort of manipulation in which a person advises supporters of the opposing campaign that they can leave as soon as they have signed in, without informing them that those who would stay need a list of potential delegates that they can nominate. If this happened, one candidate's delegation will be left unfilled in the precinct convention minutes. The unfilled delegation doesn't prove that there was manipulation, but it does suggest that it was possible.

Another possibility is that the math was done wrong in allocating delegates. This is very easy to catch even without verifying every participant, just by looking at the percentages. A few invalid participants wouldn't affect the percentages very much.

One more kind of fraud would be that the precinct convention chair neglects to deliver the packet with the convention results (minutes and sign-in sheet indicating the delegates and alternates) within three days. This would be illegal under section 174.027, but this section of the code doesn't specify any consequences.

So trying to verify each of the one million caucus participants isn't necessary in trying to find the cases where manipulation is plausible. And I think the lawyers who are versed in the TDP rules and the Texas Election Code know this. Thus the call for verifying every caucus-goer seems to be just a ruse. And that would make Phillip Martin right once again (no surprise).


[ Parent ]
One that you forgot (0.00 / 0)
is the possibility that people thought the Texas Two-Step process meant that they should vote twice ~ once Early and once on Election Day.

Interesting that you have mentioned voter fraud. I don't believe that is the issue here. Honest mistakes are not fraud. But they do affect the outcome and should be corrected as best they can be.

Thus the call for verifying every caucus-goer seems to be just a ruse.

I don't think voter verification is a ruse. Far from it. I guess I disagree with both you and Phillip Martin and others.  

I find it interesting that you say you will continue to "caucus" for Hillary Clinton throughout the convention process. The use of the word "caucus" isn't one that we've used until the media started it. You sound as if you know already that you will be "elected" as a state delegate. How do you know that?  


[ Parent ]
Use of the word "caucus" (0.00 / 0)
The word "caucus" is used extensively in the TDP Rules.

I have no guarantee that I will be elected as a state convention delegate, but I think it's likely because of my experience, my advocacy for my precinct, and my years of blockwalking. Probably the delegation from my precinct will feel that I was fair to everyone concerned as I led the precinct convention, and I gave my commitment that I will continue to support the candidate I was elected to represent.

I agree with you that honest mistakes are not fraud and should be corrected to the extent possible. But you seem to feel that these honest mistakes are overwhelmingly in favor of Obama. Might I ask why?


[ Parent ]
Show me where (0.00 / 0)
I said that I feel these "mistakes" were overwhelmingly in favor of Obama.

And the word "caucus" may be used extensively in the TDP rules, but it's not been used that much by the Texas voters prior to this election.


[ Parent ]
It's time (0.00 / 0)
then that Texans expand their vocabulary.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
other observations (0.00 / 0)
1) The response from the TDP has prompted the Clinton camp to fairly suggest sign in sheets and caucus-goers are properly legitimized. It's not fair to assume that the violations across the state be ignored for the sake of the process or perception of the TDP.

2) Why hasn't anyone responded to the way the Obama camp is handling this issue...

 
Obama's spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said the campaign does not support a delay.

"We don't think that the record-breaking number of Texans who stood up to be counted on March 4 would appreciate the Clinton campaign's attempt to disenfranchise them and silence their votes just because the outcome wasn't politically beneficial to Sen. Clinton," he said.

Who exactly is the Clinton camp attempting to disenfranchise? If the caucus-goers were eligible, their camp has nothing to worry about.

Who is Clinton campaign attempting to silence?  


Consider the scale (3.00 / 3)
If checking the sign-in sheets was an easy and routine matter, then of course you'd be right. Who wouldn't be in favor of making sure that everything is OK?? But we're talking about  a million names. Do you think the TDP has 10,000 trusted volunteers who can each check a hundred names from the voter rolls?!

Actually, they do. We're called precinct chairs, and we already did that checking on election night. In the few cases where there are legitimate doubts about the job we did, there are county credentials committees who can review things.

In other words, there's already a process for making sure the caucuses are clean. There's also a state law that says the next stage is on March 29, period. How about if we follow both?  


[ Parent ]
I'll grant you that point (0.00 / 0)
The Obama camp should stop using the word "disenfranchise." And the same goes for the Clinton campaign. This country had a bitter history of denying women and African-Americans the right to vote, and that history continued long after both groups did gain the right to vote. The word "disenfranchise" conjures up this bitter history. It is inflammatory when taken out of the context of minority voting rights. Both campaigns need to simmer down and remember that they are in the same Party.

[ Parent ]
Obama in 1996 (5.00 / 2)
Obama's campaign and its supporters should understand the importance of using legal challenges to aid a campaign since it's precisely what he did in 1996 to first get elected to office by disqualifying all of his opponents.

He was just 35 when in 1996 he won his first bid for political office. Even many of his staunchest supporters, such as Black, still resent the strong-arm tactics Obama employed to win his seat in the Illinois Legislature.

Obama hired fellow Harvard Law alum and election law expert Thomas Johnson to challenge the nominating petitions of four other candidates, including the popular incumbent, Alice Palmer, a liberal activist who had held the seat for several years, according to an April 2007 Chicago Tribune report.

Obama found enough flaws in the petition sheets - to appear on the ballot, candidates needed 757 signatures from registered voters living within the district - to knock off all the other Democratic contenders. He won the seat unopposed.

"A close examination of Obama's first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career," wrote Tribune political reporters David Jackson and Ray Long. "The man now running for president on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it."

http://www.houstonpress.com/20...


Ah, well, in that case... (0.00 / 0)
If Obama challenged petitions 12 years ago that didn't have enough valid signatures, then that's all that matters. Let's just call off the county and SD conventions until the TDP verifies the million people on the sign-in sheets. But seeing as how delegates were elected based on their availability to attend the March 29 convention, we'll have to re-do all the election of delegates. Let's just have the precinct conventions all over again, shall we?

Dammit, Obama! It's all your fault because of what you did twelve years ago!


[ Parent ]
Jobu was making a good point (5.00 / 1)
Your sarcasm is ill placed. He points out that the Obama camp has used legal challenges to aid his campaigns in the past, which suggests that slamming the Clinton campaign for doing the same thing is WRONG. He doesn't blame anything on Obama.

[ Parent ]
Yes, but... (0.00 / 0)
There is a process for challenging invalid signatures on ballot-access petitions. Obama's campaign in 1996 pursued that process. There is a process for challenging ineligible participants in precinct conventions. The Clinton campaign should pursue that process, without trying to shut down the whole system.

[ Parent ]
No they didn't (0.00 / 0)
What Obama and his people did do was challenge the nominating petitions (750 valid signature threshold) to get into the Democratic primary, such that, by the time they got done, he was running in the primary unopposed.

Acting after the caucuses--and on a course to make the efforts of 1.1 million Democrats at the very least a wasted night--is quantitatively and qualitatively different.

I have read of things at some caucuses that should be challenged before a credentials committee.  But throwing out the whole damn natal ward with the bathwater is quite another thing--and that, not some scattered challenges of abusive practices, is what Mauro and Clinton's "National Political and Field Director" are clearly setting up to do.


[ Parent ]
Great comment (0.00 / 0)
I wonder if any of the BOR staff will recognize Obama as doing the same thing they are criticizing Hillary for doing.

KT, Phil?


[ Parent ]
question (0.00 / 0)
For it to be the 'same thing' the Clinton campaign would have to be A) using legal challenges and B) looking to disqualify caucus delegates.

Is she?


[ Parent ]
answer (0.00 / 0)
Its too early to tell.

The Obama camp has said they do not support the TDP double-checking the caucus-goers...labeling the process as 'disenfranchising' and an attempt to 'silence voters'.

'same thing' is my reference to challenging the process.  


[ Parent ]
And once again (5.00 / 1)
you are overlooking the fact that the delegates ARE being double checked - by the precinct chairs and then the credentialing committees.  The ones that are sent on to the state convention will be checked AGAIN.

The Texas Democratic Party has checks in place and the demand by the Clinton campaign is just posturing.

Were there problems on March 4?  Yes!  It was a Trojan horse gift.  How wonderful that SO MANY people came out to participate in their government - it's what we always hope for and aspire to.  But, on the other hand, how awful that so many people came out and over ran the locations that had been pre chosen; and overwhelmed the local VOLUNTEERS that gave their time to support democracy in action.  And yes, there have been  some that have not checked out.  There have even been some that couldn't be checked out and had to be thrown out all together (Arlington).

It will all be sorted out as quickly as humanly possible.  The TDP is working diligently on it.  If you have a problem with the timeliness, I suggest you volunteer to be on a committee or help in any way possible in order to ease the burden of this task.

I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
Robert A. Heinlein


[ Parent ]
Im confused (0.00 / 0)
you said...

It will all be sorted out as quickly as humanly possible.  The TDP is working diligently on it.

But the letter above clearly indicates that the TDP has refused to handle this issue.

Last week our Counsel, Lyn Utrecht, was told by Mr. Dunn that the State Party intended to verify the eligibility of participants and that the Party's IT people were working on a system for doing that electronically. On Tuesday the 11th, when Ms. Utrecht contacted Mr. Dunn to inquire about the status of the memorandum regarding the procedures, she was advised that the State Party no longer intended to verify the eligibility of participants or delegates because the Party would not have the ability to do that before the County Conventions. This was confirmed by Mr. Dunn yesterday.

Thus it will be left to the campaigns to file credentials challenges against those delegates awarded based on the votes of ineligible participants, without the State Party making any effort to identify ineligible participants. We were advised yesterday that we will begin to receive copies of the scanned sign-in sheets sometime early next week and that it will not be until the end of next week when we will receive all of this data. In order to review this, the campaigns will also need access to the voter rolls to determine who voted in the primary held that day. While the State Party has indicated that it will request this information from the larger counties and provide it, it is unclear how soon that information will be available. For the smaller counties, the campaigns must request it from each county.


[ Parent ]
isn't a vote a vote, and isn't it disenfranchisement if they are nullified? (0.00 / 0)
"We don't think that the record-breaking number of Texans who stood up to be counted on March 4 would appreciate the Clinton campaign's attempt to disenfranchise them and silence their votes just because the outcome wasn't politically beneficial to Sen. Clinton," he said."

The number was record-breaking and how is this not attempting to silence the votes if Sen. Clinton is calling them into question?  Isn't that her entire point - to disenfranchise those who showed up and voted in the caucuses?

Sure it's a loaded word, but if it's the correct word, then perhaps we have a loaded situation.


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