THE 2012 TEXAS BALLOT CHALLENGE

July 16, 2012

© 2012 jbjd and kjcanon

Given current election laws; the only way to keep an ineligible candidate out of the White House is to keep the candidate’s name off the ballot, in a state that only allows to be printed on the ballot the names of candidates federally qualified for the job. But what happens when election officials in a ballot eligibility state – like Texas – are determined to ignore those laws? Then, the only way preserve the integrity of the ballot; is to take those officials to court.

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Please, contribute to THE 2012 TEXAS BALLOT CHALLENGE challenge.


TX VOTING ‘RIGHTS’ on HOLD in the “IN” BASKET

May 16, 2012

© 2012 jbjd

If you assume you have a right to know how Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade determines which Presidential candidates are qualified to appear on the 2012 general election ballot; think again.

I received the following email from Kelly C., in which she documents the disheartening results of a follow-up call yesterday to the SoS, 14 (fourteen) days after visiting that office to hand-deliver a letter detailing the problematic meeting she had earlier with Attorney Keith Ingram, the SoS’s Director of Elections, who had dismissed in its entirety her petition to improve access to voter information.

jbjd,

As I write this, it’s really hard to see the screen & keyboard because of all the steam shooting out of my ears…

I called the SoS offices (the one located at the Capital building, in Austin).  I told them who I was, and that I had hand-carried a letter to the Secretary back on Tuesday, May 1st, and was following up on it.  I first verified with this receptionist what she had done with the letter  – “to whom did you initially give my letter for review that day?”  [I had remembered (barely) upon dropping the letter off that day, that she had told me she was going to give it to the “Deputy” (something-something) currently in the office at that time, but I didn’t remember the name.] Well, I was wrong about the ‘deputy’.  The receptionist said she gave it straight to the EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT, Liz Harris.  I asked to speak to Hope Andrade, and the receptionist said that not only was Ms. Andrade NOT there, she hadn’t been there all this week or last, and she’s not expected back in the office until “AFTER MAY!!!”  But here’s where it gets “ironic”.  The receptionist offered the following tidbit of info on Secretary Andrade:  She’s on a state-wide tour of Texas, EDUCATING VOTERS ABOUT THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS!  <…deeeep breath…>  “Okay”, I said… “May I please speak to Deputy Shorter?”.  Nope.  Not in either, and isn’t expected back at all today.  I then asked to speak to Liz Harris.  Cha CHING!  Progress!  She was in!  I was transferred.

After explaining who I was, and why I was calling, I grilled Ms Harris with the following:


Me:  Has Secretary Andrade even laid eyes on my letter?

Liz:  “Well, I’m sure that when we received your letter, it went through the normal routine of being reviewed….”  stutter, stammer, stutter… “certain process”… blah, blah, blah…

Me:  “No, that’s not what I asked.” So I repeated my question.
Liz:  I’m not sure.
Me:  Where is my letter physically sitting right this moment?
Liz:  In her inbox.
Me:  So you’re telling me that my letter that I PERSONALLY delivered to your office two weeks ago, is sitting in an inbox, that may or may not be seen (much less read) until maybe sometime in June?
Liz:  Well, the Secretary gets a lot of letters…..
Me: I’m very well aware of that. But you see…  the information that I am trying to get to her is pertinent to the very nature of her current tour.
Liz:  Yes ma’am.
Me:  Can you PLEASE have Deputy Shorter return my call at his earliest opportunity? (I gave her my number.)
Liz:  I will certainly give him the message, Ms. Canon,
That’s where the call ended.
I did some more digging…  here’s another story of the Secretary’s tour:  http://www.themonitor.com/articles/andrade-60550-month-county.html

Kelly

I told Kelly a long time ago; any answer IS an answer. Only – obviously – the answer you get might not be the one you wanted to hear.

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TEXAS, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

April 30, 2012

© 2012 jbjd

UPDATED 05.01.12 (15:00 EDT): See below.

This morning, kjcanon, from Arlington; and Native Texan, from Calvert; met in Austin with Attorney Keith Ingram, Election Director, Texas Secretary of State, for what kjc and NT had scheduled would be an “in-depth” discussion of “the Texas election process.” With kjc’s help; I drafted the letter which served as the basis for that ‘discussion,’ in which we synthesized the key glitches we had worked to identify in the Texas electoral process, insofar as these problems related to the job qualifications of candidates whose names appear on the Texas ballot. kjc meticulously assembled a folder containing documentary evidence that backed up these allegations. kjc and NT also provided a narrative of their personal experiences trying to obtain voting related information. The meeting began at 10:30 AM; it was all over by 11:03.

Before reading my report of the results of that meeting, which were conveyed by telephone to me, shortly thereafter; please, read the letter. Trust me: it’s the only way to fully grasp the nature of Mr. Ingram’s response to the presentation.

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(If you have trouble viewing this document in Scribd; here are jpeg images of that same letter.)

In short; here was Mr. Ingram’s response. (My abbreviated editorial comments follow, in orange.)

You gave me assertions only; you have not given me any facts. (Obviously, we not only gave you facts but also offered to give you documentary evidence to back up those facts.)

All the information voters need is on VoteTexas.gov. “I would even call it impeccable.” (Yes; you may call the information you provide, impeccable; but not if the Secretary’s purpose in posting that information is to inform the voters. Because we are voters and, we just reported to you that we, along with numerous other Texas voters disagree that the Secretary provides adequate information so as to cast an informed vote. Are you blaming us voters for failing to intuit election related information that’s not on your web site, such as the ‘fact,’ candidates are using at least 3 (three) different ballot applications? Are you rejecting all suggestions that we voters get to decide what  information we require to cast informed votes in the election?)

The Secretary of State has no enforcement power; go to the Legislature. (We are not asking you to enforce anything; rather, we are asking you to tell us what you know about how candidates access the ballot; which are the same things we need to know to become informed voters.) (The TX legislature is not in session until January 2013.)

We’re not required to post completed party application forms. (That’s precisely why we didn’t cite a law requiring you to post these applications and, instead, cited to your promise to appropriately inform voters regarding elections.)

If you want to challenge the ballot, go through the courts. (And say what, that we are Unaffiliated or Write-in candidates who are being denied Equal Protection of the law inasmuch as only we are required by the SoS to swear to Constitutional eligibility for office in order to get on the Texas Presidential ballot, whereas the Republican and Democrat candidates only fill out the party’s application?) (Or are you just trying to send us on a wild goose chase, like your colleague tried before you, alleging a legal violation when, by merely withholding information from the voters; no one has actually broken any laws?)

I always say, any answer is an answer. That is, we now know, the Elections office will not act on our request, on its own. So, to get action on the proposals and problems pointed out in the letter; we are following the chain of command – Mr. Ingram > his boss, Secretary Andrade > her boss, Governor Perry – until the buck stops. (That is, whoever is left with the final decision to amend the Secretary’s operations. This will likely be Ms. Andrade.) That’s where we will concentrate our efforts to ensure whatever steps necessary to make the information referred to in this letter available to all Texas voters. Assuming this means getting Secretary Andrade to act; I will again provide a ‘complaint,’ of sorts, for downloading and sending, which will be a re-format of the letter for wider use and distribution, and will include links to appropriate documentation. Fortunately, the Secretary’s web site suggests that voter concerns are transmitted electronically.

Of course, convincing the Secretary to shore up her operation will not resolve the problem of candidate ballot eligibility, which will require legislative action, up to and including calling an emergency session before the Presidential election. And, if more people understood the mess that is the current ‘system’ of getting candidates on the ballot; well, presumably they would be sufficiently outraged to demand such an emergency session and, to require the passage of appropriate legislation.

That said; with a few simple alterations in the rules; at least, the Secretary could achieve a uniform standard of candidate ballot application. But, as can be inferred by the attitude of Director Ingram; she is unlikely even to do that without massive citizen action. And that’s where you come in. If you can get fellow Texas voters to understand all of this election related material then, feeling like you feel now, they will be inspired in sufficient numbers to mobilize to require changes in the administrative procedures currently in place in the Office of the Secretary, including both posting the requested information and, making the rules apply equally to both unaffiliated and party candidates.

Because once we achieve widespread distribution of the information referenced in these complaint letters; no doubt enough voters will become sufficiently mobilized to demand the necessary candidate ballot eligibility legislation.

UPDATE 05.01.12 (15:00 EDT): kjc hand-delivered a follow-up letter to Mr. Ingram’s boss, the Honorable Hope Andrade, Secretary of State of Texas.

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S o S

March 9, 2010

I have been asked to comment on efforts that are under way in several states to draft and enact into law new election statutes that would require candidates for President whose names appear on the ballot to undergo eligibility screening intended to establish whether these candidates satisfy the Constitutional eligibility for the job.  Here’s what I have to say about this.

Why bother?

The Secretary of State, who in most states is given the statutory job of overseeing elections; also has statutory authority to promulgate the rules and regulations required to carry out the job.  So, in those states that require the candidate whose name appears on the ballot, to be eligible for the job – AL,* GA, HI, MD, SC, TX, and VA have been identified so far – the SoS just needs to exercise the rule-making authority of that office to write new eligibility rules.  And these rules can be amended as time and technology require.  (I would imagine, it would be much easier to persuade a SoS to tighten up procedural requirements to get a name on the ballot than to lobby the legislature (and governor) to pass a brand new law.)

In states without such ballot eligibility laws, these laws need to be enacted.  (In some states, this also requires either amending existing laws that currently entitle the nominee for President from the major political parties to appear on the ballot; or drafting the new law to incorporate such existing entitlements.  Still, I would imagine it would be much easier to pass legislation requiring simply that, only the names of eligible candidates may be printed on the state election ballot AND to amend existing laws that apply to major political parties; than to labor on persuading legislators to adopt both the principle of candidate eligibility to appear on the ballot AND the detailed methodology drafters are attempting to construct so as to ensure such eligibility.)

* AL has been identified as an applicable state for citizen complaints of election fraud but, no Alabamans have volunteered to help me obtain the final piece of information required to draft a complaint.  (I only read the AL law when a non-Alabaman happened to look up the law in that state, for a ‘friend,’ and forwarded this to me for review.)

P.S. For those of you who are going about this the hard way; please keep in mind that targeting BO for coverage under any new regime can trigger challenges on the grounds, the new law constitutes a Constitutionally prohibited bill of attainder.  (This is the principle that sunk Congress’ attempt to de-fund ACORN, cited by the federal court in granting ACORN’s motion for a preliminary injunction.)  See this comment posted here back in January, and my response.

This should be some good news. A story from Arizona says a legislator wants to require proof of citizenship to put Obama’s name on the ballot in 2012.

“If President Obama wants to run for re-election he would need to produce proof of both his U.S. birth and citizenship to get on the ballot in Arizona, if one state lawmaker gets her way.

Rep. Judy Burges, R-Skull Valley, is preparing a law to require anyone running for president or vice president to provide proof to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office that they are legally eligible to seek the office. The U.S. Constitution requires the president — and, by extension, the vice president — to be “a natural born citizen.”

Burges would require the secretary of state to verify that status independently.

“If it’s not certifiable, then that person’s name would not go on the ballot,” she said.

http://www.azstarnet.com/sn/metro/325025.php

ksdb: Not so fast. I read the article you linked. Of course, I agree in principle with amending the requirements the candidates must meet before states agree to print their names on state ballots. This is what I have advocated all along. However, for several reasons, this proposed legislation is not what I had in mind.

For starters, notwithstanding her protestations to the contrary, Representative Burges sounds like she is proposing this legislation specifically to ‘get’ BO. That will kill the bill on challenge, for sure. http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2009/12/acorn_funding_cut-off_was_unco.html ADMINISTRATOR


CLUBS RULE

February 19, 2010

UPDATE 04.14.12: As of today, neither the Texas Democratic Party nor the Republican Party of Texas is registered with the Secretary of State as a corporation; limited partnership; or limited liability company. In other words, they remain private clubs.


NOTE: Reading this article in conjunction with TEXAS TWO-STEP enhances its significance.

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In the summer of 2008, before I knew half as much about the political process as I have learned since that time, I submitted a comment to the PUMA PAC blog, containing this epiphany:  the Democratic Party is only a club.

See, I had just ‘learned’ there exists a category of states I dubbed ‘vote binding states,’ which are those states that have enacted laws essentially saying, ‘In our state, being a “pledged delegate” means, you must vote for the person voters elected you to represent, on the roll call vote on the floor of the party Convention.’  (Did you know, DNC rules only require pledged delegates to use their “good conscience”?)  (“All delegates to the National Convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.”)  (http://s3.amazonaws.com/apache.3cdn.net/fb3fa279c88bf1094b_qom6bei0o.pdf, p. 23.)

I saw that BO’s people were harassing HRC pledged delegates to change their votes to him, in advance of the Convention.  In other words, in these vote binding states, BO’s people were enticing HRC’s people to break the law.  So, I drafted letters to state Attorneys General in the 13 (thirteen) vote binding states I identified, complaining about this illegal conduct from BO’s camp.  Next, I needed to recruit voters from those vote binding states to send these letters.  But first, I had to explain to these recruits, in lay terms, what I was talking about.  For this, I developed a primer.  And in the primer, here is how I summarized the hierarchy of commandments applying to pledged delegates: state laws trump the rules made up by the political party, every time.  https://jbjd.wordpress.com/to-stop-harassment-of-clinton-pledged-delegates-in-vote-binding-states/

That’s when it hit me: the Democrats (and Republicans) are nothing more than private clubs.

#309 jbjd on 08.18.08 at 3:59 am

THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMENT I HAVE EVER WRITTEN OR WILL EVER WRITE ON THIS BLOG… PLEASE REFER OTHERS TO THIS COMMENT THROUGHOUT THE DAY, IN SUBSEQUENT COMMENTS… I AM BUSY WRITING YOUR STATE-SPECIFIC LETTERS TO THE ATTORNEYS GENERAL, TO BE COPIED TO OUR DEAR STATE DELEGATES PLEDGED TO HRC, TO LET THEM KNOW, WE HAVE THEIR BACKS…

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DECONSTRUCTING DEMOCRACY AND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

My Dear Fellow PUMAs,

If you are going crazy trying to figure out what’s happening with the Democratic Party, join the club. I’m not kidding. Join the club. Because it just hit me, the way to understand this Democratic nominating process is to think of The Democratic Party as what it is – a club. And the only thing that makes this club so special is that it was able to get permission from each of the 50 states to collect campaign contributions and put the names of the candidates it wants to hold office onto the state’s election ballot. That’s it. That’s all there is. Let me explain.

According to Party – or rather, club rules, presidential candidates are chosen at the club’s nominating convention. Afterward, the club submits the name of its candidate for POTUS to the appropriate state official in each state – usually the Secretary of State – as part of an application to get onto the state’s general election ballot, in compliance with that state’s laws. In fact, states only allow the candidate for POTUS chosen by a “major political party” to submit ballot papers so late in the game because club rules and by-laws require their candidates to be chosen at a “nominating convention.”

The club determines who will be its candidate for POTUS on the general election ballot through a vote at the convention by people it calls “delegates,” which delegates obtained that status through an allocation process set by the club. That is, the club places the names of its proposed candidates on state ballots in the primary and caucus elections and then, in exchange for receiving a specific number of votes in that process, the candidates are assigned a delegate to vote for them at the convention. Most state delegates are given a special status, called “pledged.” According to club rules, when these pledged delegates cast their votes at the convention, they should use their best judgment to represent the wishes of the voters based on whose votes they were elected. Historically, by counting these delegates pledged to each candidate, the club has usually been able to predict which of its candidates will end up with the nomination at the end of the primary and caucus process, since one candidate usually garners enough pledged delegates to surpass the number the club set as the requirement at the convention. But not this year. Neither club candidate – BO or HRC – was assigned enough delegates through the primary and caucus process to secure the nomination at the convention. Luckily, the club had in place rules whereby this deficit in delegates could be made up by special delegates commonly referred to as super delegates who get to cast their votes for either candidate at the convention.

The Democratic Party set up volumes of rules and by-laws that govern all these operations, with auspicious sounding titles like “Charter,” “Constitution,” “Model Rules to Delegate Selection Process,” and “Call to the Convention.” But here’s the thing about all these club rules: they can be changed at any time. According to club rules. So, if like me, you have read club rules and believe, as I do, that members of the club have not played fair throughout this presidential nominating process, am I saying there is nothing you can do about it? Hardly.

Remember what I said in the beginning: the state only lets the club get onto official state ballots as long as they follow state rules. And unlike club rules, when states make rules, they’re called laws. (TO BE CONTINUED…)
©jbjd

(In the interest of full disclosure, let me say, I was banned from that blog just days after this comment was posted.)

In the 1 1/2 years since I experienced this 3:00 AM epiphany that ‘club’ is just another word for ‘political party,’ I have learned (and written) volumes about the DNC.  Now, I know it by its official name:  the Democratic National Committee Services Corporation.  That’s right; it’s a corporation.  That’s why I now regularly refer to this business entity as the D Corporation (in case you hadn’t noticed).

Before I initiated the present campaign to submit document requests to the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”) under the Texas open records law, I had to determine whether the TDP was a covered entity under that law.  First, I tried to ascertain its legal construct. I hit a brick wall.  Luckily, through other means, I was able to conclude, the TDP is subject to provisions of the open records law, regardless of its organizational construct.  Then, after the campaign to obtain records was underway, a loyal Texan and I continued to research the nature of the TDP until we got answers.

So, what is the legal construct of the TDP?  Let me give you a hint what it’s not.

Here are the documents returned by the TX Secretary of State web site after a paid on-line search of documents held by that office, for an entity called Texas Democratic Party (“Find Entity Name Search”).  (Recall that the Certification of BO’s Nomination signed by TDP Chair, Attorney Boyd Richie, and submitted to state election officials to get them to print the name of Barack Obama next to the D on the general election ballot; was printed on letterhead showing the name, “Texas Democratic Party.”) (See this document and Mr. Richie’s accompanying letter, also on TDP letterhead, on p. 3 of the citizen complaint of election fraud to AG, in REMEMBER the ALAMO )

Did you notice what name is missing?  Yep; the Texas Democratic  Party.  In the words of Randall Dillard, Director of Communications, Office of the TX SoS:  “There is no requirement in state law that political parties organize as a business entity and since the parties are not found in a search of our records, they are not organized as corporations, limited partnerships or limited liability companies.”

Whoa!  If the TDP is none of these then, what is it?

Well, I tried a Google search for “clubs in Texas.”  And look at what showed up at the bottom of page 6  (not to be confused with Page Six, the NY Post scandal column, http://www.nypost.com/pagesix): Clubs and Organizations:  Texas Democratic Party

So, I clicked on that link, which led me to all of the Clubs and Organizations organized under the big top of the TDP.

I clicked on the link in the lower right-hand corner, txdemocrats.org.  Look who was staring me in the face.

Boyd Richie, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party.

In sum, here is the answer to the question, what is the TDP.  It is the club mystically possessed with the power to get TX election officials to print the name of Barack Obama next to the D on the state’s 2008 general election ballot based only on the word of its Chair that he is Constitutionally eligible for POTUS, notwithstanding no one in the club is willing to disclose, why.

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Freedom costs.


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