Pulling off a Good Election in Harris County.

Officials are scrambling, wheeling and dealing  and dealing to pull off a fair election.  They are facing two obstacles. The most obvious obstacle to overcome is the loss of 10,000 voting machines that were destroyed in a spectacular warehouse fire.  The county seems on track to replacing more than 80% of the destroyed machines with loaners.

The county has put in an order for 3,100 voting machines from vendor Hart InterCivic. That’s as much as the vendor could produce on such short notice, County Clerk Beverly Kaufman has said. De Leon said other counties have pledged to lend Harris County an additional 1,637 machines.

The net effect is about 1.3 fewer machines per polling station. In addition, because of the fire, Kaufman is allowing voters to cast paper ballots at every polling place in efforts to prevent long lines on election day. She is also continuing to encourage people to vote early.

If enough voters go early the impact of the destroyed machines may not be that great.

The other issue concerning fair elections is the fraudulent registrations of nonexistant but presumably Democrat voters.

The group called for help and quickly got 30 donated computers and “tens of thousands of hours” of volunteer work. And then the questions started to arise.

“Vacant lots had several voters registered on them. An eight-bed halfway house had more than 40 voters registered at its address,” Engelbrecht said. “We then decided to look at who was registering the voters.”

Their work paid off. Two weeks ago the Harris County voter registrar took their work and the findings of his own investigation and handed them over to both the Texas secretary of state’s office and the Harris County district attorney.

Most of the findings focused on a group called Houston Votes, a voter registration group headed by Steve Caddle, who also works for the Service Employees International Union. Among the findings were that only 1,793 of the 25,000 registrations the group submitted appeared to be valid. The other registrations included one of a woman who registered six times in the same day; registrations of non-citizens; so many applications from one Houston Voters collector in one day that it was deemed to be beyond human capability; and 1,597 registrations that named the same person multiple times, often with different signatures.

Caddle told local newspapers that there “had been mistakes made,”

The report is availble as a PDF and has lots of examples of the suspicious registrations, hopefully the exposure of the fradulent registrations will be enough  to prevent the illegal votes.

When the Texas Lege meets in January they will be fighting over Voter ID. The Republicans now have solid proof that fraud is taking place in Texas and the voter/citizen should loudly demand that our election process be made more secure.  I noticed that I, as rapidly aproaching 60 year old, get asked for an ID to buy a beer at Intercontinental Airport. It isn’t unreasonable to ask for identification for something as important as an election.

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