Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Fort Bend Democratic Party Chair Stephen Brown Talks About Protecting The Right To Vote In Texas In 2012

General Election time is approaching across the nation and here in Texas.

Early voting begins in Texas on October 22 and runs through November 2.  Election Day is November 6.

There have been many concerns in the 2012 election season about efforts to suppress the vote and to deny people the right to vote.

In Texas, a discriminatory voter ID law has been struck down by the courts.

In Harris County, living voters are being asked if they are dead and are in some cases having a hard time reestablishing their right to vote.

Here is a press release by Common Cause that deals specifically with voter suppression issues in Texas.  

I asked Steve Brown, who is Chairman of the Fort Bend Democratic Party here in the Houston area, to write about these issues for Texas Liberal.

Above you see a picture of Mr. Brown.

Here is what Mr. Brown had to say—

October 22, 2012 will be my Election Day. It marks the first day of early voting in Texas. This year, I’m not waiting to vote on Tuesday, November 6th – and for good reason.

Since 2009, a Houston-based Tea Party affiliate, “True the Vote,” has led a crusade advocating for laws found to intentionally suppress the votes of minorities and the poor. At their annual 2012 conference, they vowed to recruit over one million poll watchers for Election Day. These self-proclaimed voter fraud vigilantes want to use their poll watchers to intimidate and challenge minority votes at the polls this Fall.

True the Votes’ modus operandi is clear. They are targeting minorities, the poor and students. They want to purge voters, challenge the right of eligible voters to cast their ballots and bully everyone else on Election Day.

In a recent report Bullies at the Ballot Box, Common Cause examines True the Vote and the state laws that are intended to protect voters from unnecessary harassment. They found that True the Vote has built a reputation of hovering over people as they vote and engage in confrontational conversations. In almost every case, they chose polling locations in predominately minority communities. Some voters were overheard leaving the booths in tears saying that they would never vote again. They also found that Texas law could be stronger by placing the burden of proof on the person that’s challenging someone’s right to vote and not the voter.

I’m voting on October 22nd because on Election Day I’ll be watching the bullies, and making sure that they don’t harass any eligible voter.

There’s a practical reason why I’m voting early as well. As a Party Chairman, I know that the more “certain” Democratic voters that I can turnout on the first week of early vote, the easier it is for me to target new and unlikely voters. Democrats have a history of being outvoted during early vote, so we spend all of Election Day trying to catch up. By voting more Democrats early, we can focus our attention on persuading a larger universe of Democrats unlikely to vote that their vote matters. With limited resources, I would much rather spend time persuading those Democrats as opposed to dedicating dollars to target procrastinating Democrats.

Due to redistricting, some Election Day polling places may have moved.  I would hate for someone to go to the wrong location, and risk not being in line by the 7 PM deadline.  Early voting is much more flexible allowing voters to cast their ballots at any location within the county they reside.

This election is too critical to wait until November 6. I don’t want to wait to see what scheme True the Vote is hatching next. I’m pledging to vote on the first day of early vote. Before we go to work, we should vote. Before we take our kids to day care, we should vote. Before running our errands, we should vote.

We should be the first person in line to vote on October 22nd, because some would wish for us not to vote at all. #WeVoteFirst

Steve Brown is the Chairman of the Fort Bend County Democratic Party. Connect with Steve on Facebook at facebook.com/sbrown2 and on Twitter at twitter.com/electstevebrown

October 11, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. “These self-proclaimed voter fraud vigilantes”

    Where? Where has anyone from True the Vote described himself as a “voter fraud vigilante?” I’ll pay money for this information.

    “Some voters were overheard leaving the booths in tears saying that they would never vote again.”

    Who?

    “We should be the first person in line to vote on October 22nd,”

    That would be a neat trick.

    Comment by Matt Bramanti | October 11, 2012

  2. I believe True the Vote is a bi-partisan movement to insure voter fraud isn’t taking place. To mention they are affiliated with the Tea Party alone is a little misleading. I am sure you are not trying to do that intentionally but it is very divisive. But then you are simply citing what you read or were told by someone else.

    They have asked for a full retraction of the report Mr. Brown is touting. You can find it here:

    We all know politicians will do anything to win, so why not have a group like this to insure citizens are informed enough to help prevent intimidation? By anyone. I live in a middle class town, but if I see someone messing with anyone (I don’t care what color, creed, race, religion, status or sex) I am going to intervene immediately. I am not going to ask the one “HOVERING” if they are Republican or Democrat first. I am going to tell them to back off and then have a pollster remove the person causing the problem. The fact that the report cited allegations of “hovering” and “intimidation” and no real proof is close to being libel.

    If someone asked me to prove who I was before voting, I would be proud to do so. Just like when they ask me for my ID when using my credit card. I thank them for their effort in protecting my money. We should be glad someone is protecting OUR vote. It’s just as important.

    Do you recall the Black Panthers standing outside the polling center in Philadelphia—-with a night stick? That’s pretty intimidating. I don’t think you will find that to be the modus operandi of True the Vote. Also, I used the word “standing” vs “looming” because I understand how powerfully persuasive words can be. You watch the video on YOUTUBE and you can decide for yourself if the gentlemen were standing or looming.

    You often use words that are more opinionated or regurgitated from the ridiculously biased media. It’s your blog so it is your right to do so, but I don’t know if you realize it or not. You posted: DISCRIMINATORY voter ID law. Can you tell me who the voter ID law discriminates and why?

    Comment by Mike | October 11, 2012

  3. I guess not. I agree.

    Comment by Mike | October 16, 2012

  4. Mike–The court struck down the law saying it would hold down minority turnout and place burdens upon the poor.

    I don’t doubt that you feel that all registered legal voters should be allowed to vote no matter who they are voting for. What I don’t understand with these laws is how it always seems that they would burden folks who might be more likely to vote Democratic while at the same time there is hardly any evidence of voter fraud in our nation. Given the lack of evidence that voter fraud is taking place, why would not folks be suspicious when these laws appear to be directed at likely Democratic voters?

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 16, 2012


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