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When Must One Register To Be Able To Vote In Texas In 2010? When Is Election Day?

Who can vote on General Election Day in Texas and in Harris County, Texas? When must one register to vote in order to be eligible? What day is Election Day?

The last day one can register to vote this year is October 4.

The first day of Early Voting across Texas is October 18.

Election Day across Texas is November 2.

Here is a summary of important dates in the upcoming election season.

These are the qualifications for being eligible to vote for all of Texas —

To be eligible to register to vote in Texas, any United States citizen residing in Texas who is:

  • At least 18 years old on Election Day
  • Not a convicted felon (unless sentence, probation and/or parole are completed)
  • Not declared mentally incapacitated by a court of law.

The information below describes how one can register—

Registering to vote is easy in Texas. It doesn’t even require a stamp! Official applications to register to vote are postage-paid by the State of Texas. In most Texas counties, the Tax Assessor-Collector is also the Voter Registrar. In some counties, the County Clerk or Elections Administrator registers voters. You may obtain an application from the county Voter Registrar’s office, the Secretary of State’s Office, libraries, many post offices, high schools and on the web. From our website, you may request that we send you an official, postage-paid application. Or, you may download an informal application, but you will be required to affix a stamp before mailing. You may also register to vote when you apply for or renew your driver’s license.

Read the instructions on the form, fill it out and mail it to the Voter Registrar in your county, or take it to the Voter Registrar’s office in your county. You must be at least 17 years and 10 months of age on the date you apply.

If for any reason you cannot register yourself, with your permission, your spouse, parent or child may fill out and sign an application for you if that person is a registered voter or has applied for voter registration. This person is known as your “agent.”The application must be received in the Voter Registrar’s office or postmarked 30 days before an election in order for you to be eligible to vote in that election. You will receive a voter registration certificate in the mail after the Voter Registrar has processed your voter registration application. Upon receipt of the voter registration certificate, sign it, fold it and keep in it in your wallet and take it to the polls with you when you vote.

All voters who register to vote in Texas must provide a Texas driver’s license number or personal identification number issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety. If you do not have such a number, then you must state that fact and provide the last four digits of your social security number. If you do not have a social security number, you must also state that fact.

These facts come from the office of the Texas Secretary of State. You can click the link for full details.

Here is information about registering to vote in Harris County, Texas. When you register to vote in Harris County, be certain you fill out the registration form correctly without any mistakes. The County Registrar, Leo Vasquez, has often shown himself more concerned  with keeping people from voting than he is in making sure that people are able to vote.

Here is the campaign web page for Bill White for Governor of Texas. Please consider voting for Mr. White. The incumbent Governor is already the longest-serving Governor in the history of Texas. It is time for somebody new.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top Tea Party Blogger In Harris County Acknowledges Hard Work And Initiative Of Houston Liberal Bloggers In Setting The Agenda—TPA Round-Up

At the bottom of this post is the weekly round-up of the Texas Progressive Alliance. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

TPA bloggers in Houston scored a big success in recent weeks, as we helped correctly define the story after Harris County Tax-Assessor Collector Leo Vasquez and a local Tea Party outlet went after the Houston Votes registration drive in an apparent attempt to suppress minority turnout in Harris County.

Perry at Brains & Eggs,  John Coby at Bay Area Houston, Stace at DosCentavos , and Charles at Off The Kuff posted about this bad conduct on a number of occasions. I have also commented on the matter here at Texas Liberal and at The Daily Hurricane.

Statewide, South Texas Chisme offered up a post on the matter.

In defeat, top right-wing blogger David Jennings at a Tea Party annex called Big Jolly Politics admitted that Conservative bloggers in Houston and Harris County have not shown the initiative and gumption required to become a potent force in local politics.

David said that our victories locally have been long-standing—“ For years, when a story hits a news outlet, the lefty bloggers in Houston have had their way in forming the “narrative” on said story. Narrative is everything when it comes to public perception.”

Republican Harris County Judge Executive Ed Emmett seems to have gotten the message. He has used Republican attacks on the right to vote in the county as a starting point to suggest  that a non-partisan voter registration chief be appointed to oversee elections in the county.

Texas Progressive Alliance bloggers will stay on the case and keep looking out for the people of Houston, Harris County, our Great State of Texas, and our nation.

Here is the most recent TPA round-up—

This week on Left of College Station Teddy takes a look at the positions of Chet Edwards and Bill Flores on energy, and finds it unlikely that leadership on the environment, clean energy, and climate change will come from Texas Congressional District 17. LoCS also covers the week in headlines.

WhosPlayin is watching the tax rate election for his local school district, where anonymous mailers are flying and things are not looking good for it to pass.

Libby Shaw is at again over at TexasKaos, exposing Republican puppetry of the rankest order. Who’s pulling the strings? Check it out:Meet the GOP/Tea Party Billionaire Puppet Masters, Part 2. Continue reading

September 12, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Texas Democratic Party, In This Instance, Fighting Like Ezzard Charles To Make Certain All In Harris County Are Able To Vote

The Texas Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit against the no-good Leo Vasquez due to the fact that he is trying to make it difficult for the people of Harris County, Texas to be able to vote.

While it would have been great if the Texas Democratic Party, the Harris County Democratic Party, and elected officials in safe low-turnout districts in Harris County, had long been about the essential business of registering poor turnout voters, in this case I commend the TDP for fighting like the great Ezzard Charles to make sure that all in our county are able to vote in 2010. (Please see my post I’ll Follow, But Only At A Distance.)

I wanted to use a boxer in this post to indicate the hard-fighting nature of the TDP in this instance. Mr. Charles was a heavyweight champion of the world from my my former hometown of Cincinnati.  He is seen here beating Jersey Joe Walcott in 1951. I bear no ill towards Mr. Walcott and am not comparing him at all to Leo Vasquez.

Here is the text of the TDP press release

Today, the Texas Democratic Party filed suit in federal court against Leo Vasquez, in his capacity as Voter Registrar in the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector’s office. TDP Chairman Boyd Richie issued the following statement:

“In 2008, the Texas Democratic Party was forced to take legal action in Federal Court to protect Harris County voters from the inappropriate, partisan actions of former Voter Registrar Paul Bettencourt, whose office rejected tens of thousands of legitimate voter registration applications.

“When Leo Vasquez took office following Bettencourt’s sudden resignation after the 2008 election, he defended his predecessor’s actions. However, when the Texas Democratic Party presented the Court evidence of the serious misdeeds in the Harris County voter registration office, Vasquez ultimately agreed to a settlement, providing hope that those inappropriate practices had come to an end.

“Unfortunately, we believe Leo Vasquez violated the terms of our agreement last week, based on statements and information he distributed at a press conference that resembled a political pep rally. At that event, Vasquez made reckless accusations against a non-partisan organization based on a “review” of voter registration applications conducted by a group called “True the Vote.” In order to conduct such a review, Vasquez apparently provided the group access to the same applications he refused to provide the Texas Democratic Party last year, when he argued in Federal Court that such documents contained confidential information such as date of birth.

“All Harris County residents should be deeply disturbed by how easily this office disregards election law and federal court orders and by how casually they distribute voters’ confidential information. Just last year, well-documented reports revealed that deputy voter registrar Ed Johnson was selling driver’s license information to Republican candidates as part of an illicit side-business with Republican state representative Dwayne Bohac.

“Given Mr. Vasquez’ actions last week, we have been forced to take legal action to make sure his office does not repeat the same kind of practices that denied almost 70,000 Harris County citizens the right to register and vote in 2008.”

Bay Area Houston blogger John Coby says that Mr. Vasquez should resign.

Please click here to see the great work Houston Votes is doing in Harris County to help people be able to take part in our democracy.

September 3, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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.)

September 1, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Rival Press Conferences Help Detail Possible Vote Suppression And Voter Intimidation In Harris County By Conservatives

Rival press conferences were held today in Downtown Houston as details continue to emerge about what appears to be a campaign of suppression and intimidation against poor and minority voters by conservatives in Houston and Harris County, Texas.

One press conference was held by the non-partisan voter registration group Houston Votes, while the other was conducted by a right-wing group called the Liberty Institute and a local tea party outfit. I attended both events.

(Above–Houston Votes head Fred Lewis speaks at today’s press event.)

The Liberty Institute, a Tea Party group called King Street Patriots, and lame duck Harris County Republican Tax-Assessor Collector Leo Vasquez appear to all be hard at work to discredit the ongoing Houston Votes registration drive in Harris County. ( Mr. Vasquez was defeated in the Republican primary earlier this year. At the time, he thought one reason he had lost among Republican primary voters was that he is Hispanic.)

Houston Votes is seeking to register many thousands of poor, young and Hispanic persons for 2010.

Conservatives fear a Harris County electorate that mirrors the demographics of Harris County will assist Democrats.

Here is the Houston Votes response to the politically motivated allegations that they are knowingly doing something that might be wrong.

Given the sources of the claims against Houston Votes, they are simply not credible.

The King Street Patriots say they have uncovered many fraudulent voter registration applications that have been turned in by Houston Votes.

Well…..they sort of say that. Here is what the King Street Patriots say on their web page

“Thank you, Leo Vasquez! The Harris County Tax-Assessor Collector and his team are working hard to maintain the integrity of the voter rolls.”

Here is what Liberty Institute says about the same issue

“Today, the King Street Patriots, a group of citizen-volunteers in Harris County, Texas, announced their discovery of thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of incomplete, inaccurate or false voter registrations.”

Everybody involved are such good friends that they don’t care who gets the credit.

This friendship extends to hospitality as well.

Below you see where the Rick Perry for Governor campaign lists a major campaign event from July 31 as having taken place for the Houston area—-

King Street Patriots
9562 Hempstead Rd.
Houston, TX 77092

(This Tea Party/Perry connection was first pointed out to me by John Coby of the blog Bay Area Houston. The Tea Party says they want a new politics. Yet they support for reelection a man who already been the longest serving Governor in Texas history.)

At no point today during the Tea Party/Liberty Institute press conference was an association between the King Street Patriots and the Rick Perry campaign mentioned.

Yet such a connection seems to exist.

At the Houston Votes press conference today, Houston Votes chief Fred Lewis asked if Mr. Vasquez’s office would grant the same type of access to voter registration applications to all people as it seems has been granted to local Republicans.

The Harris County Democratic Party should be asking the same question. Tea Party actions in our public offices should be closely monitored.

Mr. Lewis is asking the Voting Rights Section of the U.S. Justice Department to get involved.

The King Street Patriots web page also says the following—-

“We need hundreds of volunteers to work as pollwatchers on Election Day. Click here to sign up now! Play Your Part in Keeping Our Elections Free and Fair!”

For what reason do they need “hundreds” of pollwatchers? Where in the county will these people be sent? Will they only challenge people of color or people they think for whatever reason might be Democrats?

Citizens of Harris County have the right to be free of harassment from Tea Party goons when taking part in early voting or when voting on Election Day.

The fact is that there is not much voter fraud in Texas.

As they are for every election, the stakes are high in 2010. In Harris County and in Texas, Republicans know they are fighting a losing battle against demographic changes that will elect many more Democrats to public office. Republicans will spare no effort to delay this trend for as long as possible.

An aggressive challenge must be offered to these seemingly well-orchestrated  efforts to suppress turnout and to intimidate voters in Harris County in 2010.

Top Houston political bloggers Stace Medellin, John Coby, Perry Dorrell, and Charles Kuffner have also been on top of this important story.

(Below–The Tea Party/Liberty Institute press conference. They huddle the people of color up front to give an appearance of diversity that does not in fact exist.)

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vasquez, Tea Party Republicans And Perry Appear To Be Teaming Up For Texas Two-Step Of Voter Harassment And Intimidation

As I wrote yesterday, Harris County Tax Assessor Collector Leo Vasquez is harassing the Houston Votes voter registration drive so that many among the poor, the young, and in our Hispanic community may be denied the right to vote.

Mr. Vasquez is working in tandem with local Tea Party groups. This despite the fact that Mr. Vasquez was defeated in the Republican primary earlier this year. At the time of his defeat, Mr. Vasquez said he felt that one of the reasons he had lost was possibly the fact he is Hispanic.

Mr. Vasquez is now in league with these bigoted so-called Tea Party Groups.

One local Tea Party group, the King Street Patriots , seems also to be offering up its resources to serve as a meeting place for a major Rick Perry for Governor event in Houston.

The Tea Party wants change in Texas and in America so badly that they are supporting for reelection a man who has been Governor of Texas for ten years already.

It is as if the Boston Tea Party was all about keeping King George in power.

On their website the King Street Patriots say the following—

“We need hundreds of volunteers to work as pollwatchers on Election Day. Click here to sign up now! Play Your Part in Keeping Our Elections Free and Fair!”

Where will these pollwatchers be sent and what will they be doing? What kind of questions will they be asking?

The fact is that there is not much voter fraud in Texas.

What may well be at work here is orchestrated voter suppression and intimidation of voters.

Mr. Vasquez, the Tea Party, the Republican Party, and Governor Perry seem to have it all worked out.

These dark forces will help make sure that many voters they think may be Democrats won’t be able to register to vote.

For those who do vote, there will be Tea Party goons at the polls questioning people of color or people they just don’t like.

It is a Texas Two-Step of voter suppression and intimidation. Mr. Vasquez works on the suppression while the Tea Party handles the intimidation.

What will be the response of the Democratic Party, of Democratic candidates, and of people of good conscience in our community to this attack on democracy?

August 27, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Leo Vasquez Teams Up With Same Racists Who Defeated Him In Primary To Help Deny Hispanics And The Poor The Right To Vote In Harris County

Outgoing Harris County Republican Tax Assessor Collector Leo Vasquez is harassing the Houston Votes voter registration drive. Mr. Vasquez is responsible for voter registration in Harris County.

Houston Votes is seeking to register thousands of new voters in Harris County for the 2010 election. The goal is to encourage voting by the poor, by Hispanics, and by the young in Harris County.

This is work that should have been done years ago by the Harris County Democratic Party and by elected Democrats in safe low turnout districts.

Here is the Houston Votes web home. Please visit Houston Votes and see the good work they are accomplishing.

Mr. Vasquez says that possibly one-third of the approximately 25,000 applications turned in by Houston Votes so far are for various reasons not valid.

That’s what he says. Though it is entirely possible Mr. Vasquez could be making stuff up to keep voters he feels will be Democrats off the voter rolls.

If mistakes were made, then disallow the voter applications. Just be sure they are disallowed for valid reasons and not for political reasons.

Here is how the Houston Chronicle reported Mr. Vasquez’s attack on Houston Votes and on the concept of full representation for all—

“Though Vasquez announced his briefing as a news conference, the event was packed with members of True the Vote, an initiative of local tea party activists aimed at combating voter fraud. Members punctuated Vasquez’s prepared remarks with bursts of applause.”

Mr. Vasquez lost the Republican primary earlier this year. After the election, many observers felt that a big reason Mr. Vasquez lost was because Harris County Republicans would not vote for a Hispanic.

At the time, Mr. Vasquez himself seemed to think that one of the reasons he lost was because he was Hispanic.

Now Mr. Vasquez teams up with the same racist folks that helped put him out of office to make it more difficult for Hispanics to vote in Harris County.

Has Mr. Vasquez any self-respect? Is he so desperate to be seen as tough on Hispanics that he will consort with the extreme so-called Tea Party? Does Mr. Vasquez need to hold another political office someday that badly?

I’ve met the Houston Votes people and they are not fraudsters. They are folks, mostly Democrats, who really want to include more people in the political process.

Registering disenfranchised constituencies with a collection of volunteers and temporary workers is by definition going to be an imperfect process.

It is turned into something more sinister only when a lame duck, desperate-for-approval politician teams up with racist groups to subvert our political process by making sure that many of our fellow Americans will not be able to vote.

All this would be disgusting anywhere in America. That it is happening in racially and ethnically diverse Harris County  makes it even more appalling.

My friend Perry at the great Houston political blog Brains & Eggs has written on this issue. Leading local blogger John Coby at Bay Area Houston has also offered his views.

August 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

You Can Register To Vote In Three Languages In Harris County, Texas—What Are Tea Party Folks Going To Do About That?

Here is a picture of a sign I took a few days ago. This sign is at the office of the Harris County, Texas Tax Assessor-Collector & Voter Registrar.

The incumbent holder of this office is appointed Republican Leo Vasquez. Mr. Vasquez lost the Republican primary a few months back.

Mr. Vasquez was not the only Republican in Texas who seems to have lost a primary because a Hispanic last name.

You see that in this Harris County, Texas government office that you can get a voter registration form in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

This is because Harris County is a multi-ethnic place. Just as is Texas and the United States of America.

What are the loudmouth Tea Party folks going to do about these facts?

Nothing. Our county, our state, and our nation are changing.

These so-called Tea Party folks may, or may not, win some elections this year.

But over the long haul, these folks are going to find themselves out in the cold.

This is good part why the Tea Party people are so angry. They know they are fighting a lost cause.

August 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Diane Trautman For Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector

In the upcoming Texas Democratic Primary, Harris County voters should support Diane Trautman for Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector.

(Above you see Ms. Trautman holding a baby.)

Texas primary day is March 2. Early voting begins on February 16. Here are facts about early voting.

Here are the duties involved with this important position. The Tax Assessor deals with property valuations, vehicle registration and voter registration.

While Ms. Trautman is running unopposed on the March ballot, a strong primary showing will send a clear message that Ms. Trautman is headed to victory in November.

Here is the Trautman campaign web home.

When elected, Ms. Trautman will work hard to make sure that tax assessments will be conducted fairly, and that Harris County voters are registered in an open and legal manner.

What a switch doing the job of Tax Assessor-Collector in a fair and competent fashion will represent  from business as usual in the Tax Assessor’s office.

It is wrong for subordinates in the Tax Assessor’s office to sell voter registration data to a political party. It is wrong even if appointed incumbent Leo Vasquez does not view it as wrong.

Ms. Trautman has experience in both banking and education. She will bring a renewed sense of ethics and public service to the office.

Ms. Trautman will serve her full term when elected and not pass on the office to someone else just weeks after the election. This cynical move is how Republicans kept control of the office in 2008 as Democrats made Election Day gains in Harris County.

Please consider supporting Diane Trautman for Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector in 2010.

February 10, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment