My Brief Exchange With Harris County Judge Ed Emmett On Issues Of Election Integrity—Leo Vasquez Is Abusing His Office
Here is a posting offered up by Harris County, Texas Judge Executive Ed Emmett on his campaign related Facebook page yesterday evening—
“Early voting starts in just 9 weeks. Bev Kaufman, our County Clerk, and her staff are doing a great job responding to the disaster of losing our voting machines in a fire. Too bad some folks are trying to play politics with the situation.” (I added the link for this blog post.)
Here is the reply I posted to this comment on the same Facebook page——
“Judge Emmett–As you know, Republican Party officials in Harris County have not merited the trust of wide segments of the population when it comes to elections being conducted in a fully fair manner. You could offer some leadership within your own party as so-called Tea Party groups financed by billionaires seek to suppress minority turnout. It is in this climate that the voting machine issue has become an additional and connected source of concern. You are on record as saying partisan leadership of the registration process is not the best way to go. Your previous views are of greater value than what you have said this evening on Facebook. Thank you.” (Again, link added for this post.)
(Above is link to a Houston Chronicle article written by Judge Emmett about the idea of non-partisan leadership of county voter registration efforts that I included in my reply to the Judge,. )
Here is what Judge Emmett said in response as posted on my personal Facebook page.
“Actually, Neil, last night’s post was in error. Early voting really starts in 7 weeks and election day is in 9 weeks. I encourage everyone on all sides to not play politics with the voting machine disaster. Hopefully, that is consistent with my earlier comments.”
For what it may or may not be worth, Judge Emmett’s first post was deleted on Facebook and replaced with the following status update—
“Election day is 9 weeks from today. early voting begins in just 7 weeks. Lot’s to do between now and then.”
I may be struck by lightning for this, but I really don’t mind Judge Emmett despite the fact he is a Republican. I think he gets that a huge diverse county like Harris County can’t be run as some Tea Party- no government- white people’s republic. I wonder sometimes if he exerts a moderating force on a county Republican Party that might otherwise be even worse than it is already.
The thing is, I simply don’t trust Republicans in Harris County, or anyplace else, to do the right thing.
I especially don’t trust Republicans to count the votes fairly as they see—sooner or later—Harris County and all of Texas slipping away as election results finally start to mirror the demographic realities of our region and of our state.
I’m an ideologically motivated partisan. But you can bet that if I was in charge of voter registration in Harris County, I would work hard to make sure that all people could vote regardless of what party they supported.
If Judge Emmett can show leadership in the weeks ahead to help make sure that all eligible voters in Harris County are able to take part in early voting ,and are able to vote on Election Day, then he will merit the thanks of the people of our county.
It is not just about the voting machines. It is about Leo Vasquez working in tandem with a partisan Tea Party group. While I trust Houston Votes, they are not the point. Mr. Vasquez is abusing his office.
Election results that nobody trusts will prove poisonous to democracy. If nobody believes that our representatives are fairly elected, our democracy will not be able to go forward. There must be some bottom line of legitimacy.
Judge Emmett’s Democratic opponent in 2010 is former Houston City Councilmember Gordon Quan.
(Below–Judge Emmett taking oath of office in 2008.)