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.


TEXAS BALLOT CHALLENGE CHALLENGE

July 3, 2012

© 2012 jbjd

(The following narrative explaining the Texas Ballot Challenge is incorporated into a slide show presented by Texas citizen/activist Kelly Canon of Arlington, to civic groups throughout the state.)

Texas, We Have a Problem

We here in Texas have a problem with our 2012 general election ballot; and I’m going to tell you how we can fix it.

Generally, people will only cast their votes for a President they know is Constitutionally eligible for the job. And, thanks to candidate ballot eligibility laws passed here in Texas; voters should be able to trust that the candidates whose names appear on our general election ballot have been federally qualified. But, at least in 2012; they have not. Because as you will see; these election laws are being ignored by the responsible state governmental entities. And their conduct virtually guarantees that the November 2012 ballot will contain the name of at least 1 candidate who has not been federally qualified for the job.

That is; unless concerned citizens like us intervene.

Before I go any further, I need to emphasize that the problem here is ballot eligibility, not whether a specific candidate is eligible for office. Because under the Constitution; political parties have the right to run any candidates they want.  No doubt about it. But under Texas election laws, those party candidates are not entitled to be placed on the general election ballot unless they are federally qualified for the job.

I also want to remind everyone that I have been collaborating on this Texas ballot challenge with noted blogger “jbjd,” who for the past 4 years has been advising frustrated voters throughout the country: if you think a candidate is ineligible for office then, the way to keep him out of the White House is to keep him off the ballot. But this only works in a state with ballot eligibility laws. She has focused on the ballot here in Texas because, in her words, we already have some of the best laws. They just have to be enforced.

So, how do candidates for President and Vice President get their names on our general election ballot, anyway? Well, it all depends on whether they are Independent or Write-in, that is, Unaffiliated; or representing either the Republican or Democratic Party.

Unaffiliated candidates submit their applications for the general election ballot directly to the Secretary. On the other hand; the names of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominees from the national Republican and Democratic Parties are submitted to the Secretary via the Chairs of their state parties: the Republican Party of Texas (“RPT”) and the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”).

But keep in mind; whether the candidate is Unaffiliated; or representing the Republican or Democratic party; only the names of federally qualified candidates are entitled to appear on the Texas general election ballot.

Let me read the ballot entitlement law that applies to the parties, which is section 192.031 of Texas statutes, “PARTY CANDIDATE’S ENTITLEMENT TO PLACE ON BALLOT”: “A political party is entitled to have the names of its nominees for president and vice-president of the United States placed on the ballot in a presidential general election if the nominees possess the qualifications for those offices prescribed by federal law.”

And, if the party nominees possess the qualifications for offices prescribed by federal law then, under section 192.033; …“­­­the Secretary shall certify the names of the candidates for president and vice-president who are entitled to have their names placed on the ballot.”

Taken together; these 2 laws – 192.031 and 192.033 – plainly say that party candidates are entitled to appear on the general election ballot only when they are federally qualified for the job; in which case, the Secretary has no choice but to certify their names to the ballot. Conversely; if candidates have not established their federal qualifications then, they have no right to appear on the ballot; and the Secretary shouldn’t put them there.

So, who determines whether, consistent with the statute, a candidate for President or Vice President can be said to be federally qualified? Well, the Secretary, that is, the Executive branch, promulgates the rules and regulations to carry out the statutory intention of the Legislative branch.

And the Secretary has determined that federal qualification can be met simply by filling out a ballot application which asks the candidate to answer the following questions: are you 35? Have you lived in the U.S. for 14 years? Are you a NBC? And to swear the answers given are true. How do we know this ballot application process satisfies the Secretary’s standard for federal qualification? Well, as I pointed out; Unaffiliated candidates for President and Vice President get on the general election ballot by applying directly to the Secretary. And they do so using application forms which she designed, and which are submitted directly to her. Those ballot applications contain these provisions related to federal qualification. For both the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Unaffiliated candidates.

But as we have said; the Republican and Democratic parties don’t fill out applications to get the names of their Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominees on the general election ballot. No; the state party chair merely passes on to the Secretary the names of the nominees elected at the national party’s Presidential nominating convention. Then, how does the Secretary ascertain whether those national nominees are federally qualified, that is, entitled to appear on the ballot? Well, as those of you who contacted the Secretary with respect to the 2008 general election already know; when it comes to determining candidate entitlement to appear on the ballot; she told us ascertaining federal qualifications was the responsibility of the parties! In fact; having ceded control over ascertaining the federal qualifications of party candidates, to the political parties; she certified to the 2008 general election ballot the names of those national nominees just by assuming their federal qualification.

First, we got mad. Then, at the direction of the Secretary; to find out how the national parties had federally qualified their candidates; we asked them.

In fact, beginning in 2008; citizens from several other states, with and without ballot eligibility laws, did the same thing.

For example, according to the rules for the Democratic National Committee (Services Corporation), their Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees must be Constitutionally eligible for the job. So, voters asked the DNC to disclose the documentary basis for ascertaining that Presidential Nominee Barack Obama, was Constitutionally eligible. And here’s what happened. Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Chair of the party’s Presidential Nominating Convention, ignored them. Alice Germond, DNC Corp. Secretary, referred all such questions to DNC Corp. General Counsel Joseph Sandler. He sent back this reply: ‘We are not a public agency and so, we don’t have to tell you. Go ask your Secretary of State.’

Of course, Secretary Andrade had sent Texas voters to them!

Well, it’s true that the national Republican and Democratic parties cannot be compelled to disclose the basis for their candidates’ federal qualification inasmuch as they are not public agencies. But unless we could discover what was the documentary basis for their federal qualification; we could not conclude that by assuming entitlement; the Secretary had abused her discretion. Fortunately for us voters in Texas; there’s another way to find out whether Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees have been scrutinized for federal qualification.

See, under Texas election law; in order to get the names of their Presidential nominee wannabes printed on the Presidential preference primary ballot, the chairs of the Texas state parties – the RPT and the TDP – must submit those names to the Secretary. This means that party candidates who want to appear on the primary ballot must apply directly to the party. And, under Texas law; candidate applications to appear on the ballot become public records upon filing. This makes those applications submitted to the RPT and TDP subject to the Texas Public Information Act (“PIA”).

So, to sum up so far; in Texas, the Secretary has determined that only the political parties are responsible for determining federal qualification, meaning, the only way to find out what documents were the basis for their candidates’ qualification, is to ask them; the national parties are not legally required to disclose such documentation and have refused to voluntarily provide such documentation; but in Texas, state parties are required under the PIA to produce the requested documentation. So, in 2012, using the PIA, I asked both the RPT and the TDP to produce federal qualification documentation. [1]

Turns out, just like the Secretary’s applications for Unaffiliated candidates to the general election ballot; the RPT applications for the primary ballot asks candidates the same eligibility questions,  and contains the same oath that the answers given are true . (Only, this application is designed by the party, and filed with them.) In other words; the RPT candidates in the primary election have satisfied the  standard established by the Secretary for federal qualification to be entitled to appear on the general election ballot.

The TDP requires their candidates to submit a primary ballot application, too. However, unlike the applications used by the RPT for the primary ballot; and the general election ballot for Unaffiliated candidates used by the Secretary; the forms designed and used by the TDP contain neither any language of federal eligibility nor an oath or affirmation. Yet, these applications are the only documents used by the TDP to determine which of their candidates to submit to the Secretary to certify to the primary ballot. How do I know? Because they told me so. In other words, their candidates have not satisfied the Secretary’s standard for federal qualification.[2]

And here is a critical point: ordinarily, the Secretary does not see the applications the candidates submit to the parties to get on the primary ballot.  Rather, having ceded the responsibility for federal qualification, to the parties; the Secretary only asks the parties to electronically transmit to her office the names of those candidates they, that is, the parties, want to appear. That’s it. And she puts those names on the ballot.

Remember, we are talking about 2 separate ballot eligibility laws here, one which entitles the federally qualified candidate to appear on the general election ballot; and the other which requires the Secretary to certify to the general election ballot the name of the entitled candidate. And as I just pointed out, none of the candidates whose names the TDP submitted to the Secretary for the primary ballot in 2012, had been federally qualified by the party. Yes, the Secretary certified their names to appear on the primary ballot, anyway.  And, of course, that was fine. Because, again, the ballot entitlement statute only kicks in, on the general election ballot. But since the nominees for President and Vice President are chosen by the DNC and RNC; even though their names are routed through the TDP and RPT to the Secretary to put on the general election ballot; at that point the state parties have no authority to determine the nominees’ federal qualifications. This means that, those candidate applications submitted to the state party chairs for the primary ballot currently provide the only legal mechanism to determine the nominees’ federal qualifications. Thus, the only Presidential or Vice Presidential nominees entitled to appear on the Texas general election ballot in 2012; are those nominee wannabes who submitted applications to the RPT for the 2012 primary ballot.

But does the fact, the names of candidates who have not been federally qualified are not entitled to appear on the general election ballot mean, the Secretary cannot put them there, anyway? Hardly. As we have said; she can put them there by exercising her discretion. She did that in 2008.

And this is exactly what she intends to do in 2012. How do I know? Because in May, I met with Attorney Keith Ingram, Elections Director; and explained that the primary candidates submitted to the Secretary by the TDP had undergone no federal qualification, meaning they were not entitled to appear on the general election ballot. I even offered to show him the actual candidate applications I have received from both state parties. But, he wasn’t interested. On the contrary; he dismissed me with a wave of the hand (literally), proposing if I had a problem with the ballot configuration, I should ‘go tell it to the legislature.’

So, I did. That is, as the Texas legislature does not formally reconvene until January 2013; I met with members of the legislature’s interim election committee. They agreed; the Secretary is not carrying out the intention of their ballot eligibility legislation. The committee was tentatively scheduled to hold hearings this summer. Yet, too few members were sufficiently interested in remedying the ballot eligibility problem, to reach a quorum. As a result; the hearings have been postponed until after the parties’ Presidential nominating conventions, too late for committee members to help us fix the problem in time for the printing of the general election ballot.

In sum; under TX law, only the names of federally qualified candidates are entitled to appear on the general election ballot but as of now, the Executive branch intends to exercise its discretion to put candidates on the ballot who have not been federally qualified, anyway; and the Legislative branch won’t stop them.

Now, it is up to the Judicial branch to ensure that our ballot complies with state law.

This is where we come in. We, the citizens of TX, must ask the Judicial branch to order Secretary Andrade to refrain from exercising her discretion to place on the general election ballot the names of any Democrat or Republican candidates for President or Vice President who have failed to establish for the primary ballot, they were federally qualified for the job.

How do we do this? We file an injunction. Not to keep off the general election ballot both the Democrat and Republican parties; but only to keep off the ballot the names of those Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees from the parties who have not been federally qualified for the job. (Keep in mind; we don’t elect the President and Vice President in the general election, anyway, but only the Electors for the political parties.)

This means coming up with the money to draft the legal documents, and pay the filing and notice fees. In addition, because the Respondent is a state agency; the Motion must be filed in Austin, which means covering the cost of local accommodations during the court proceedings.

(I had considered that Steve Munisteri, Chair of the RPT, would be well situated to bring this case, because he not only has access to both the financial and legal resources required, but also the added advantage of being located in Austin. But that was before I realized; many of the Vice Presidential nominees currently being considered for the Republican Party were also not federally qualified to appear on the TX general election ballot, inasmuch as they hadn’t applied to the state chair for a place on the primary ballot. And even I am not brazen enough to ask Chairman Munisteri to file an injunction keeping off our general election ballot the name of the Republican Vice Presidential nominee!)

But regardless of who files this injunction; clearly, it needs to be filed, in order to protect the integrity of the ballot so that at least we voters here in TX know which candidates have (or have not) been federally qualified for the job. And we need to do this ASAP, before the Presidential nominating conventions. Because when they end; the national parties, through the state party chairs, will submit the names of the party nominees to the Secretary, who will certify the names of those candidates, even the ones who have not been federally qualified, to the ballot.

I am uniquely situated to file this injunction. For starters; I am the onIy person who can provide first-hand authentication of the evidence required to ‘make the case’: I have met with the Secretary and the Legislature; and, more importantly, obtained those critical candidate ballot applications directly from the parties. But I also have a good grasp of the issues involved and the confidence to present the Motion. (Hat tip to “jbjd” who, having conceived and assembled this case, is now preparing to draft the legal documents.)

But we need help. Lots of it.  And not just financial. We need a core group of Texans – jbjd operates from the east coast – who can carry out a myriad of ‘clerical’ tasks, including but not limited to copying; faxing; and filing.  If you want to sponsor this TX Ballot Challenge; please, see me after this meeting.

Any questions?


[1] The first request I sent to the TDP went unanswered. But jbjd advised me to send another request listing the applicable TX statutes. (She explained; they are more apt to pay attention if they know you know the law.) This time; they responded immediately.

[2] In fact; the TDP had not produced the documents I requested evidencing their candidates were federally qualified. (jbjd joked, it’s like asking the Secretary to produce a list of registered voters and she sends the budget, instead.) So, as provided for under the PIA, I filed a complaint of non-compliance with the Attorney General. Incredibly, AAG June Harden issued an opinion letter saying, the state political parties are not covered by the PIA, in the Texas statutes under Government Code, inasmuch as  they are not listed in the “Definitions” section, as a “government entity.” However, she failed to notice that 1) the section of the PIA immediately preceding the definitions section, clearly indicates records which are “public” are covered by the Act; and 2) ballot applications are explicitly defined as “public records” under another title of the Texas statutes: Election Code.

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Please, contribute to the TEXAS BALLOT CHALLENGE CHALLENGE.


On the Radio 06.30.12

June 29, 2012

UPDATE 06.30.12:  AT END

Join us on Saturday when TX citizen/activist Kelly Canon and I discuss alternative ways to keep off the 2012 general election ballot the name of the Presidential candidate who documentary evidence exposes was never federally qualified for the job.  Call in number is 714.242.5220. (If you cannot tune in tomorrow; you can listen to the archived show, by visiting the same link.)

Texas, We Have a Solution (Maybe)!

UPDATE 06.30.12:  We just finished the show and, having listened to the entire playback, I must say; it is absolutely fabulous. It offers a comprehensive synthesis of our work on ballot eligibility issues, from who determines whether a candidate is “federally qualified” to appear on the ballot; to how the executive branch carries out the express intention of the legislative branch for ballot entitlement; to how joining the National Popular Vote Initiative can subvert the strongest ballot eligibility laws.

(Or, as Kelly would say, we covered everything ‘from soup to nuts.’)


AG ABBOTT OPINES, TX PUBLIC RECORDS LAWS not WORTH the PAPER on which THEY’RE WRITTEN

June 25, 2012

UPDATED 06.26.12: See update at bottom of article.

© 2012 jbjd

Disagreeing with me on a point of legal interpretation doesn’t per se mean you don’t know what you are talking about. But when Assistant AG June Harden rejected Kelly Canon’s complaint that the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”) had violated the Public Information Act (“PIA” or “the Act”) by refusing to produce certain election-related documents; explaining to Ms. Canon that, political parties are not covered by the Act, well, Ms. Harden had no idea what she was talking about.

For the past 12 years, Harden has been the Senior Managing Attorney for Public Outreach in the Open Records Division of the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Texas. Before joining the OAG, she served as Special Counsel to Senator Gregory Luna of Bexar County.  Id. Ms. Harden received her undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University and her J.D. from Texas Tech University School of Law. Id. She has been working at the AG since December 1995; her current annual salary is $80,000. http://www.texastribune.org/library/data/government-employee-salaries/state-of-texas/june-b-harden/1114680/

Judging by her bona fides; by now, she should know her job in and out. But she doesn’t. And I can prove it. First, some background information, which has been covered in previous articles.

The legal standard for getting the name of the Presidential candidate from the major political party on the general election ballot in Texas is spelled out in §192.031 PARTY CANDIDATE’S ENTITLEMENT TO PLACE ON BALLOT.  The first of four prongs to entitlement is, the person must be “federally qualified” for the job. Id. But no law specifically designates whose responsibility it is to determine either in the first instance, whether the candidate is federally qualified; or, at some point after the political party has electronically submitted the name of the candidate to the Secretary of State (“SoS”) and before she certifies the name to the ballot, whether anyone has previously determined s/he is federally qualified for the job. However, we know that the Secretary does not verify Constitutional eligibility; and so, Ms. Canon determined to find out on what documentary basis both the RPT (Republican Party of TX) and TDP had determined their 2012 Presidential candidates’ federal qualifications. The RPT returned their candidate applications which, like those applications designed by the Secretary for Independent and Write-in candidates, contained the Constitutionally qualified self-affirmation. The TDP returned the candidates’ unauthenticated applications. (See BALLOT ENTITLEMENT LAWS should DISQUALIFY PRESIDENT OBAMA in TEXAS.)

But that’s not what Canon asked for; so she filed a complaint with the AG charging the TDP had violated the PIA. Pending receipt of the actual opinion letter; Ms. Harden telephoned her response.

According to Harden, the TDP is not covered by the PIA. Why? Because, as she told Ms. Canon; under Title 5 of 552.003, Definitions, political parties are not identified as government entities. And, technically she’s right. That is, the TDP is not a government entity. But this fact alone does not end the analysis as to whether the documents requested are covered under the Act. For example, had she read section 552.002; she would have seen this.

Sec. 552.002.  DEFINITION OF PUBLIC INFORMATION; MEDIA CONTAINING PUBLIC INFORMATION.  (a)  In this chapter, “public information” means information that is collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business:

(1)  by a governmental body;  or

(2)  for a governmental body and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it.

This means, even granting that sec. 552.003 of the TX Statutes, Government Code, Title 5, Open Government; Ethics, does not explicitly define the TDP as a government entity; one cannot rightly infer that the documents held by the TDP which were the subject of Ms. Canon’s request and subsequent complaint to the AG for non-compliance; are not public documents under other provisions of the Act. Or that, under another legal scheme, either the party or the documents are not covered by the Act. And they are. For example, look at the Elections Code.

Sec. 191.003: NOTICE OF CANDIDATES TO SECRETARY OF STATE. The state chair of each political party holding a presidential primary election shall certify the name of each presidential candidate who qualifies for a place on the presidential primary election ballot and deliver the certification to the secretary of state not later than the 57th day before presidential primary election day.

Thus, in TX, the Presidential candidates representing the major political parties do not apply directly to the Secretary of State (“SoS”) to get their names on the ballot. Instead, they must submit their ballot applications to the chair of the party; and s/he must submit the names of these candidates to the SoS. In other words, under Sec. 552.002, the information “collected, assembled, or maintained” with respect to these applications which are made pursuant to Sec. 191.003, requiring the delivery of the certification of qualified candidates to the SoS; is public information.

But just in case the logic of coverage under the PIA is still unclear; there’s this.

Sec. 141.035.  APPLICATION AS PUBLIC INFORMATION.  An application for a place on the ballot, including an accompanying petition, is public information immediately on its filing.

Indeed; like they had done to several requestors in 2010; the TDP ignored Canon’s first request for documents in 2012, in which she had failed to specify the applicable public records laws.

View this document on Scribd

No; she only received a response after she revised her letter and filed a second request for documents in which she specifically asserted the laws supporting the request.

And she knew if the TDP had any such documents related to the 2012 ballot; these documents would still be held by the TDP.

Sec. 141.036.  PRESERVATION OF APPLICATION.  The authority with whom an application for a place on the ballot is required to be filed shall preserve each application filed with the authority for two years after the date of the election for which the application is made.

However, the party failed to produce the specific documents she requested related to how it had ascertained the candidates’ federal qualification, which refusal had prompted her present complaint to the AG.

Presumably, before Ms. Harden issued her opinion; she researched past opinions issuing on this subject from the office of the AG. We looked; there are none. This means, this was a case of first impression. But this also means that, subsequent complaints as to the refusal of the parties to produce specific election-related information; will be rejected on the grounds of her opinion.

It would appear that AAG Harden repeated the mistakes others have made when interpreting the coverage of the PIA. That is, she was too narrowly focused on the definitions which ruled out political party chairs as ‘public officials,’ ignoring the fact  the section of the law immediately preceding those definitions makes unambiguously clear that documents held by these party officers may still be classified as public records.  Or the fact that other laws may define records as public, making them also subject to the PIA; and spell out that when party officers carry out traditional state functions associated with elections, covered by another section of the law; then, just like other public officials, they can still be ordered to hand over these public records, under an action in Mandamus initiated either by the aggrieved citizen or by the AG.

To say nothing of the fact that the opening provision of the PIA urges its provisions not to be narrowly construed so as to limit public access to records but, on the contrary; to be “liberally construed in favor of granting a request for information.” http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/GV/htm/GV.552.htm

But as of now; the erroneous opinion stands.  This means the TDP has the legal obligation to submit the name of a Presidential candidate to the ballot, which name the SoS, who presumes the candidates named by the parties are federally qualified for the job and thus entitled to appear on the ballot; must certify these names to the ballot.  Sec. 192.033. But neither the SoS nor a private citizen has the right of access to the party documents which were the basis for the TDP’s eligibility determination. And the TDP knows this, having been copied on both the complaint and the opinion letter.

Recall that, in the past, the TDP refused to produce documentary evidence of its candidate applications until the requester cited applicable public records and election laws. Until we can reverse Ms. Harden’s patently erroneous legal interpretation of the scope of PIA jurisdiction; how likely do you suppose will be the TDP to voluntarily disclose such eligibility documentation?

And why would the citizens of TX allow to remain intact, a system of elections that presently permits a political party to maintain access to the ballot notwithstanding it cannot produce any documentary evidence to the public or the Secretary, that its candidates satisfy the threshold to entitlement, of being “federally qualified” for the job?

UPDATE 06.26.12: Well, well, well. AAG Harden’s written response arrived; and it’s even ‘better’ in black and white.

View this document on Scribd

See, in addition to memorializing her illogical opinion that, the TDP is not covered under the PIA inasmuch as they are not identified as a “government entity” in the Definitions section of that law; she now preserves for the record her mistaken assertion that the only records covered are those held by entities explicitly defined as ‘government.’ This, of course, leaves out all of those “records” defined in the law as “collected, assembled, or maintained under a law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business … for a governmental body and the governmental body owns the information or has a right of access to it.” Id.

But there’s more. Ms. Canon pointed out to Ms. Harden over the phone; she had filed a PIA request with the SoS seeking all documents the TDP had submitted to that office with respect to the federal qualification of the Presidential candidates whose names they provided to appear on the ballot. The SoS complied with this request. That is, they returned a printout of the electronic spreadsheet that had been submitted by the party, containing the candidates’ names. Because that’s all they had gotten from the party.  But apparently, Harden somehow got the idea that, Canon was perhaps complaining, the SoS had received from the party, documents of federal qualification; but had refused to forward to her that documentation! Now, writing the obvious, Harden advised that the SoS is a government entity under the PIA, and suggested Canon could file a PIA complaint against them!

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Please support the work going on here at “jbjd.”


WILL TX AG ABBOTT PROSECUTE the TDP for VIOLATING the TX PUBLIC INFORMATION ACT?

June 17, 2012

© 2012 jbjd

The Texas legislature enacted a law that directs the chairs of the major political parties to submit to the Secretary of State (“SoS”) the names of the party candidates who will appear on the ballots in both the Presidential preference primary as well as the general election.  It also passed a law that entitles candidates for President from the major political parties to appear on the general election ballot, only if they are “federally qualified” for the job. TX Election Code  §192.031

Unlike the Presidential candidates from the major political parties; Independent and Write-In candidates apply to appear on the general election ballot directly to the SoS. For this reason; consistent with the ‘federally qualified’ standard; the SoS designed ballot applications for use by both Independent and Write-in Presidential candidates which contain self-affirmations that, under the pains and penalties of perjury, the candidates are Constitutionally eligible for the job. (We found these by searching the SoS’s official web site, http://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/forms/index.shtml)

View this document on Scribd

True, a self-affirmation is arguably not as foolproof a method of establishing the candidate is federally qualified as, say, requiring the candidate to authorize a birth certificate to be generated by the issuing authority and delivered directly to the state official. HOW to WRITE SMART CANDIDATE ELIGIBILITY LAWS in your STATE (and make applying to get on the ballot harder than applying to get into Harvard) But at least  one might expect that, like in the case of the witness testifying in open court under the pains and penalties of perjury; the self-declaring candidate is more likely than not to be telling the truth.

In TX, Presidential candidates from each of the two the major political parties must apply to the party chair to get onto the Presidential preference primary ballot, using the individualized application forms designed by each party. The chair determines which names to forward to the SoS, who merely prints the names thus supplied.

The forwarding of names of Presidential candidates from the major political parties, to the SoS; is done through an electronic submission of data, using Excel-like spread sheets the Secretary designed. This format limits the information the parties are able to transmit to little more than the candidate’s name, address, and date of birth. BALLOT ENTITLEMENT LAWS should DISQUALIFY PRESIDENT OBAMA in TEXAS. This means that, with respect to the names of the Presidential candidates which are submitted to the SoS by the major political parties; the Secretary never sees the candidates’ actual ballot applications. By thus limiting any opportunity for the political party to transmit documentation which might have resulted in a federal eligibility determination; the SoS is merely assuming the political party has determined their candidates are federally qualified for the job.  Indeed, whenever Texans asked the SoS on what documentary basis her office ascertained the Presidential candidates from the major political parties were federally qualified for office before she certified these names to the ballot; they were always referred back to the political party.

In other words, the SoS makes Independent and Write-In Presidential candidates ‘prove’ they are federally qualified for office before allowing their names to be printed on the general election ballot, consistent with the law. But when it comes to establishing that the Presidential candidates from the major political parties are federally qualified for office and thus have earned the statutory entitlement to appear on the ballot; the SoS takes the party chairs at their ‘implied’ word.

(Note that §192.031 refers to being “federally qualified” as necessary to achieve entitlement to appear on the general election ballot. There is no corresponding statute with respect to the primary ballot. However, as individual candidates must apply directly to state political party chairs to get on the primary ballot in TX; this represents the only opportunity for these chairs to establish whether the candidates are federally qualified for the job.)

TX has an extremely powerful public information law (“the Act”). Here is the opening section.

Sec. 552.001.  POLICY; CONSTRUCTION. (a) Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created. The provisions of this chapter shall be liberally construed to implement this policy.

(b)  This chapter shall be liberally construed in favor of granting a request for information.

Using the Act; TX citizen activist Kelly Canon was able to obtain from the SoS documents such as the electronic transmittal forms they had received from the political parties. However, recall that neither the Republican Party of Texas (“RPT”) nor the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”) is required to submit to the SoS either the actual primary ballot applications submitted to them by the Presidential candidates; or any other ‘evidence’ of the candidates’ federal qualifications. As a result, Ms. Canon could not obtain these documents by submitting a request under the Act, to the SoS. However, the Act equally applies to enumerated documents generated by political parties.  http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/EL/pdf/EL.161.pdf Further, under §552.321 of the Act, production of documents requested can be compelled by the courts in an action in mandamus, initiated either by the AG or the aggrieved citizen. Id.  So, in order to obtain any documentation held by the political parties with respect to their candidates’ federal qualification; pursuant to the Act, Ms. Canon sent letters to both the RPT and the TDP specifically requesting “any and all documents which were the basis for your certification to the TXSoS that these candidates are federally qualified for the job.” (Identical letters were sent to both political .parties; here is the letter sent to the TDP.)

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Here’s what she got back from the RPT.

View this document on Scribd

As you can see; just like the SoS, the RPT also interpreted the TX ballot entitlement statute to mean, their Presidential candidate must be federally qualified in order to appear on the ballot. And, just like the SoS, they designed a primary ballot application which contains the same self-affirmation found in the SoS’s applications for Independent and Write-In candidates to appear on the general election ballot.

Recall that, ballot applications from both Independent and Write-In Presidential candidates, which contain the self-affirmation of federal eligibility; are submitted directly to the SoS. True, swearing to the chair of a major political party that you are a federally qualified Presidential candidate is technically not the same thing as swearing directly to the SoS. However, in TX, this represents a distinction without a seminal difference. Because when the political party chair is acting like a state official, for example, when s/he is determining which candidates’ names will be forwarded to the SoS to appear on the ballot; then, under TX perjury laws, the penalty for lying is the same! Id.

On the other hand; all Canon got from the TDP was a ballot application that contained neither any language of Constitutional eligibility nor any self-affirmation the candidate is federally qualified for the job!

Obviously, this is not at all what she asked for.

Thus, having refused (for whatever reason) to provide the requested documentation; the TDP violated the Act. And recall that, under §552.321 of the Act, production of documents requested can be compelled by the courts in an action in mandamus, initiated either by the AG or the aggrieved citizen. Id. Consequently, exercising the protocol spelled out in the Act, on June 13, Ms. Canon filed a complaint with AG Abbott against the TDP.

View this document on Scribd

AG Abbott published the Public Information 2012 Handbook. This letter to “Fellow Texans” appears on the first page:

Dear Fellow Texans:

James Madison once wrote, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance: And a people who mean to be their own Governors, must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” The best way for the people to arm themselves with that knowledge is for government to maintain openness in its dealings. Texas places a high priority on government openness, and the Public Information Act (PIA) is the primary law that requires it.

At the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), we are dedicated to helping citizens and public officials understand their rights and obligations under Texas open government laws. To that end, we publish the Public Information Handbook. This comprehensive resource explains the history of the PIA and includes such topics as how to make an open records request, what types of information are subject to such requests, and the consequences of a governmental body’s noncompliance. The 2012 edition also reflects PIA changes that were made by the 82nd Legislature.

Other open government resources are available on the OAG website at www.texasattorneygeneral.gov. These resources include frequently asked questions; a library of open records decisions dating back more than 30 years; and a public information cost estimate model, which assists governmental bodies in determining the cost of a public information request. Texans can also call our open government telephone hotline (877-OPEN-TEX) with their questions.

Thanks to Madison and the rest of America’s founders, this nation was established upon the principle of self-governance. We are heirs to that legacy. I hope this Public Information Handbook assists you in ensuring that Texas government remains accountable to the people it serves.

Sincerely,
Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas

Given the commitment memorialized in this handbook, to the principle that “government remains accountable to the people it serves”; will TX AG Abbott now prosecute the TDP for violating the TX Public Information Act?

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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.

View this document on Scribd

(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.

View this document on Scribd

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GOOD THING the REPUBLICAN PARTY of TEXAS READS the “jbjd” BLOG

April 19, 2012

© 2012 jbjd

Thanks to the Republican Party of Texas (“RPT”) I am able to amend some misleading information I posted in the previous article, BALLOT ENTITLEMENT LAWS should DISQUALIFY PRESIDENT OBAMA in TEXAS. How they came to aid in this clarification, is a hoot!

On Wednesday, April 18, at around 5:30 PM EDT, I received a call from kjcanon, in TX. “Are you sitting down?” Needless to say, I was by the time I answered her question.

Seems she had just received a call from Mr. Jesse Lewis, who is the Executive Director of the RPT,  concerning her open records request. (She had listed her telephone number on that request.) According to Mr Lewis, the documents she asked for had already been forwarded to the email address she provided, and he wanted to know why she would claim otherwise. Immediately, she thought back to that complaint she had just filed 2 days earlier with AG Abbott, charging that Steve Munisteri, Chair of the TDP, a public official under the Public Information Act inasmuch as he certifies candidate names to the ballot; had refused to produce public records she requested, which were the basis of his certification. Could that office have possibly followed up so quickly? She asked Mr. Lewis what was the source of his information: “…I saw the JBJD (sic) blog…”

Turns out, the RPT had sent the materials on April 5, to the wrong address and then, seeing my blog, on Tuesday, re-sent the materials, again to the wrong address. Finally, after contacting kjc on Wednesday, they got it right. They also asked her to pass on this information to me, which she did. (They didn’t ask her to withdraw the public information complaint she had filed with AG Abbott but she did that immediately, too.)

Here are those RPT emails.

Notice that 2 documents were attached: one, designated “20120405091443653.pdf,” which contained multiple candidate applications to the ballot; and the other designated “order on party conventions.pdf.” This second attachment leads to the other subject raised by Mr. Lewis, which we will discuss first.

As the result of a settlement recently reached among the parties in the TX redistricting lawsuit, the dates were changed for several key party functions during the primary season, including the voting by party members during the actual primary contest and, the holding of the party state convention, which changes now conflicted with existing state statutes. Consequently, the federal district court ruling on redistricting matters (on remand from the SCOTUS) issued several orders with respect to these new dates, in which all such inconsistencies were addressed. (Four such orders were issued between February 28 and March 1!) Here is a snippet from an Order entered on February 28:

d. Sections 163.00, 191.007, and 191.008, Texas Election Code, are suspended for the
purposes of modfications (sic) to party rules made pursuant to this order.

Mr. Lewis, again obviously referencing the article he had read here on the “jbjd” blog, now informed kjc that, according to item “d” of this redistricting court order; the RPT wasn’t required to submit its rules to the SoS by January 5, the date which appears in the statute, in order to preserve the entitlement of their candidates to appear on the ballot, anyway! He would send along that court order for her reference.

Now, having not yet seen any of the documents to which kjc referred, I could only ‘guess’ at why Mr. Lewis was wrong. I reasoned that, obviously, a rule determining federal qualifications was not impacted by a court order necessitating changes in filing deadlines, which, without the court’s exception, would conflict with existing state laws. Then, I saw the order. The modifying language in section “d” makes clear, the only party rules exempted from the deadlines contained in those specific statutes, are those rules which must be modified pursuant to the changes imposed by the order, on the timetable for events occurring during the course of the primary season.  (Perhaps that’s why the RPT entitled that attachment, “order on party conventions.”) There is also this, from SoS Andrade:

All dates, deadlines or requirements not specifically adjusted by the federal court order remain as required under state or federal law. Calendar of Important Dates for Candidates for the 2012 Primary and General Elections

Before I complete the discussion of the rules, I want to focus on the other attachment which came in the mail, the Presidential candidate applications.  According to Mr. Lewis, the applications “are the only documents used to certify these candidates place on our ballot.” So, we looked for something in the form which confirms that the candidate has established meeting “federal” “qualifications.” Here is the form submitted by Charles “Buddy” Roemer.

Notice that this contains an oath or affirmation from the applicant swearing s/he satisfies the Constitutional requirements for the job.

Now, look at the TDP form submitted by Barack Obama (which also appeared on the previous post.)

No such self-authentication. (Had you already noticed that the application form supplied by the TDP contains no such oath or affirmation?)

Either way, neither the RPT nor the TDP can be said to ‘certify’ a Presidential candidate has met federal qualifications when the only basis for that certification is the candidate’s self-authentication.

Anyway, that was just the beginning of our work. On the RPT form, in the upper left corner, I noticed this blurb: Prescribed by the Republican Party of Texas, Rule #38, 10/2011. So, the RPT ostensibly has a rule with respect to establishing a candidate for President is federally qualified? How did we miss that? We searched through the RPT rules (and the TDP rules) for anything containing the numbers “191” or “192,” the sections of TX statutes dealing with Presidential candidates, and found nothing. Now, we looked at the RPT’s rule 38. Here is the section of that rule relating to the candidates’ applications:

Rule No. 38 – National Convention Delegates and Alternates – Amended February 29, 2012
Section 1. Presidential Primary, Application of Rule

Section 2. Method of Qualifying as Presidential Candidate
a. Filing: Any person eligible to hold the office of President of the United States may qualify to participate as a Presidential candidate in the presidential primary by filing with the State Chairman, not later than 6:00 p.m. the second Monday in December of an odd-numbered year preceding the presidential primary, a signed and acknowledged application for his or her name to be placed on the Presidential Primary ballot, accompanied by a supporting petition signed by a minimum of 300 registered voters of the state from each of a minimum of fifteen (15) Congressional Districts, or the payment of a filing fee of $5,000.

So, yes, both the TDP and the RPT filed ‘rules’ with the SoS by deadlines created either in the statute or through the court order(s). But neither party preserved its entitlement to the ballot by filing a rule that spelled out how it would determine conclusively so as to certify to the Sos; both the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates are federally qualified for the job.

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Freedom costs.


BALLOT ENTITLEMENT LAWS should DISQUALIFY PRESIDENT OBAMA in TEXAS

April 16, 2012

CRITICAL UPDATE 04.18.12, 17:59 EDT

at bottom of post

(CORRECTED 06.25.12)

©2012 jbjd

Under Texas law, by failing to file with Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade the rules adopted by the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”) to determine that the party’s nominees for President and Vice President are federally qualified for the job; Attorney Boyd Richie, Chair of the TDP, has forfeited the entitlement of the party to have the name of its nominees for those federal offices appear on the 2012 TX ballot. In fact, by failing to provide the candidate qualification rules of the Republican Party of Texas (“RPT”), Attorney Steve Munisteri, Chair of the RPT, has similarly forfeited the entitlement of his party’s nominees for President and Vice President to appear on the 2012 ballot, too.

It’s true; look at the law.

In TX, who determines whether the names of the nominees chosen by a political party, for President and Vice-President of the United States appear on the ballot?

A political party is entitled to have the names of its nominees for President and Vice President of the United States placed on the ballot in a presidential general election if the nominees possess the qualifications for those offices prescribed by federal law. §192.031 PARTY CANDIDATE’S ENTITLEMENT TO PLACE ON BALLOT

But who determines whether the nominee for President is Constitutionally eligible for the job?

The state chair of each political party holding a Presidential primary election shall certify the name of each Presidential candidate who qualifies for a place on the Presidential primary election ballot and deliver the certification to the Secretary of State. §191.003 NOTICE OF CANDIDATES TO SECRETARY OF STATE

How does the state chair determine whether the candidate has satisfied federal eligibility?

The state executive committee of each political party holding a Presidential primary election shall adopt the rules necessary to implement these laws. §191.008 IMPLEMENTATION BY PARTY

How does the SoS know that the party has adopted these rules necessary to verify the federal qualification of the  Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates submitted to that office?

For a political party to be entitled to have its nominees for President and Vice President of the United States placed on the general election ballot in an election year in which the party is holding a presidential primary election, the rules adopted under this section or the rules already in existence must be filed with the secretary of state not later than January 5 of the Presidential election year. Id.

Now, look at the facts.

In 2008, the SoS received from Mr. Richie the list of candidates the TDP wanted the state to print on the TX primary ballot. Here is Mr. Richie’s cover letter, and only the first page of that candidate submission.

(These 2008 records were obtained from the SoS in 2012 during a series of requests for public information, which was delayed due to court redistricting issues that in turn pushed back the date of the primary to May 29 and, therefore, the deadline for party submissions). (The mandatory retention schedule for such records is 2 years unless the records have been the subject of some kind of challenge. We have no idea why the SoS maintained these records for 4 years, but we are glad she did.)

In the cover letter, Mr. Richie explains he is sending this information to the SoS “in compliance with §172.028(a) of the Texas Election Code.” That section, STATE CHAIR’S CERTIFICATION OF NAMES FOR PLACEMENT ON GENERAL PRIMARY BALLOT, is found under TITLE 10, POLITICAL PARTIES, SUBTITLE B. PARTIES NOMINATING BY PRIMARY ELECTION, CHAPTER 172. PRIMARY ELECTIONS. Then, as you can see; in the page that followed, he listed together both the Presidential candidates and the down-ticket candidates, like U.S. Senator and U.S. Representative.

He shouldn’t have.

Title 10 only applies to party candidates chosen via a primary election. And even though the names of both the Presidential hopefuls and these down-ticket offices appear on the same primary ballot; the party nominees for U.S. Senate and U.S. Representative are chosen directly as the result of the primary contest, whereas the nominees for President and Vice President are not. Rather, these are chosen at the party’s Presidential nominating convention. (This is covered in Title 11, in §191.003.) This means, votes cast for the Presidential candidate during the party primary only count for the purpose of the assignment of pledged delegates who will then vote for that candidate at the party’s national convention.

So, is listing the Presidential candidates, covered under 191.003, on the same form as candidates covered by 172.028(a), as cited in Mr. Richie’s letter, just a legal technicality, in other words, a distinction without a difference? Hardly. Here is the text of 172.028(a): “Except as provided…the state chair shall certify in writing for placement on the general primary election ballot the name of each candidate who files with the chair an application…” In other words, to get on the ballot under this section, a candidate need only submit an application. And no law requires the party to adopt rules to carry out the laws in this section. On the other hand, 191.003, printed above, requires the chair to submit only the names of candidates federally qualified for the job. And 191.008 requires the party to adopt rules to ensure the section’s implementation.

Naturally, just because Mr. Richie wrote down the wrong law didn’t mean, he hadn’t carried out the mandate of the right law by verifying the candidates he submitted to the SoS for the 2008 Presidential preference primary ballot were federally qualified for the job. But we know he didn’t verify whether the Presidential nominee wannabes were federally qualified for the job. We also know that Mr. Munisteri, his counterpart in the RPT, didn’t verify Republican Presidential candidates were federally qualified for the job, too. Because we looked it up. That is, we searched the internal rules of the respective parties for references to 191.003.

TDP Rules, 2006-2008: http://txdems.3cdn.net/b365cb3e72bc521333_pom6vdrl3.pdf

TDP Rules, 2012: http://www.txdemocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/2010-2012-TDP-Rules.pdf

RPT Rules, 2008: http://www.1888932-2946.ws/TexasGOP/E-ContentStrategy/userfiles/2008_General_Rules.pdf

RPT Rules, 2011 (Amended for 2012): http://s3.amazonaws.com/texasgop_pre/assets/original/2011RPTRules_Amended.pdf

Lo and behold, we found no such rules. For either party. For the years 2008 – 2012. This means, neither party could possibly have submitted the rules required under 191.003 to the SoS. And, under 192.031, this means neither party is entitled to have the names of its Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees on the general election ballot. It’s as simple as that.

Of course, just because both the TDP and the RPT have lost entitlement to have the names of their nominees for President and Vice President on the general election ballot doesn’t mean that SoS Andrade cannot exercise her discretion to place those names on that ballot or, on the primary ballot, anyway. But she should not. And here’s why.

Notwithstanding neither party promulgated rules as required by law to preserve entitlement for the names of their Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates to appear on the ballot; this does not mean, they didn’t somehow verify their candidates had satisfied federal qualifications for the job. So we submitted a request for the production of documents which were the basis for their ballot certification; to the Chairs of both parties, under the TX Public Information Act.

You might recall we attempted to retrieve documents from Mr. Richie and the TDP in 2010. But notwithstanding under the law the documents requested were pubic records; and the parties, as holders of these records, were public officials; those 2010 requests were ignored. TEXAS TWO-STEP. Maybe it was because we hadn’t spelled out in our request the legal framework which supported our rights to the documents requested. In other words, we hadn’t let him know, we know the law. So, this time, we did. (Citizens shouldn’t have to be lawyers to get their public officials to do their jobs, whether these are unelected officers of a private political club merely fulfilling a public function. Especially when those officials are lawyers, too. Id.) 1) §191.003.  NOTICE OF CANDIDATES TO SECRETARY OF STATE. This law established the Chair had a duty to certify the names of the party candidates to the SoS. 2) §192.031.  PARTY CANDIDATE’S ENTITLEMENT TO PLACE ON BALLOT. This restricts entitlement to be on the ballot to only those Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates meeting federal qualifications for the job. 3) §141.035.  APPLICATION AS PUBLIC INFORMATION. This establishes a candidate’s application for a place on the ballot is a public record on filing. 4) §161.004.  PARTY DOCUMENT AS PUBLIC INFORMATION. This states that any document required to be filed by the party is public information. 5. §161.009.  PARTY OFFICER SUBJECT TO MANDAMUS.  This spells out that when a party officer has a duty to act under the election code; the performance of that duty is enforceable by writ of mandamus in the same manner as if the party officer were a public officer.

Here is the Public Information request letter sent to the RPT.
How did the RPT respond to the request? Attorney Munisteri ignored it. (Kelly has already filed a complaint with AG Abbott.)

Presumably, the esteemed Chair of the RPT knows when it comes to submitting names to the TX ballot; he is a public official, required to respond to this request for public information. Because his brother in the law, Attorney Richie, Chair of the TDP, knows. When we sent this letter to him –

he gave us everything we wanted – (CORRECTION 06.24.12: He only appeared to give us what we wanted. Because as Kelly pointed out; this application was missing any language establishing the candidate was Constitutionally eligible for the job; and she had asked for documents which were the basis for his finding the candidates whose names he submitted to the SoS to appear on the ballot were “federally qualified.”) (See WILL TX AG ABBOTT PROSECUTE the TDP for VIOLATING the TX PUBLIC INFORMATION ACT?)

which consisted of nothing more than Mr. Obama’s ballot application. (Under §1.012, PUBLIC INSPECTION OF ELECTION RECORDS, you can view this public record by visiting the offices of the TDP.)

In other words, Mr. Richie put the name of Barack Obama on the TX ballot just because he asked him to. As if he was a down-ticket candidate under 172.028(a).

Wherefore, SoS Andrade should exercise her discretionary authority to keep the RPT candidates for President and Vice President off the ballot; not just because they ignored the law requiring rules adopted for candidate eligibility to be filed with her office but also because they ignored the law requiring production of records used for public elections. She should exercise her discretion to keep the TDP candidates off the ballot because they ignored the law on rules and then swore to the SoS, having filed an application to get on the ballot, the candidate was thereby federally qualified for the job

When it comes to exercising her discretion as to whether to allow the Presidential candidates of either of these parties, Republican or Democrat, to appear on the TX ballot; SoS Andrade should come down on the side of the citizens of Texas, and not the political parties.

(H/T to “jbjd” patron kjcanon for her Herculean assistance researching, editing, and thinking out loud.)

CRITICAL UPDATE 04.18.12, 17:59 EDT: I have just been informed of a change of status with regard to the documents requested from the RPT. The post which will print shortly will explain everything. jbjd

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Freedom costs.


REVOLVING DOOR, REVOLUTION, or just PLAIN REVOLTING

February 23, 2011

©2011 jbjd

Ever since Electors elected Barack Obama President of the United States, many of those of you who are convinced he is Constitutionally ineligible for the job, unable to forestall his inauguration, alternatively determined to elect new public officials and enact new laws intending to forestall his election in 2012.  I have rejected this response as taking a sort of ‘revolving door’ approach.   That is, as I have reasoned many times, if we are impotent to get our current elected officials to enforce existing ballot eligibility laws then, we will not achieve a different outcome by electing new officials or writing new laws.

Instead, I have been pushing for citizens in applicable states, that is, states with existing ballot eligibility laws, to file with their A’sG the citizen complaints I drafted charging  various members of the D party committed election fraud by swearing to state election officials in 2008, Barack Obama was qualified for the office of President, without ascertaining beforehand he is a NBC; and, if necessary, to lobby these A’sG to exercise their discretion to investigate these complaints.  What I envision to be a true people’s ‘revolution.’

Now, the official conduct of Texas State Representative Leo Berman (R-Tyler) has necessitated a third description that could be applied to efforts to shore up our electoral process with respect to guaranteeing Presidential candidates are Constitutionally eligible for the job:  just plain revolting.

Rep. Berman recently introduced a bill specifying “the secretary of state may not certify the name of a candidate for president or vice-president unless the candidate has presented the original birth certificate indicating that the person is a natural-born United States citizen.” http://lubbockonline.com/local-news/2010-11-17/birth-certificate-bill-filed-presidential-candidates

Yep; here’s the text of that bill.

http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/billtext/pdf/HB00295I.pdf#navpanes=0

Right off the top, this wording presents many obstacles to fulfilling the function for which it is ostensibly written. For example, how can a birth certificate identify whether a person is a NBC?  And then, there is this word, “entitled.” In the situation called to my attention in TX, wherein Bob Barr challenged the printing of the names of both the R and D nominees on the ballot, I pointed out, even if one is not entitled to something, this does not mean, one cannot get what he wants, anyway.

Submitted on 2009/09/11 at 22:45 | In reply to juriggs.

If you look at what I posted, I posted all the docs I received from the SoS with respect to the Certifications…5 docs. The Republicans actually used a “form” and I queried the SOS with respect to whether there was a specific “form” required and they responded “no”. The Deomcrats sent in two docs. One, the Official Certification, and the other more of a letter form. I believe the letter was in effect a cover sheet and as much as a form was not required, there was intent to comply with guidance from the State with respect to an “Official Certification”.
I am also reading some stuff into this as both Parties missed the filing deadline. The pre-certification on my site from the republicans is I believe a way of showing thier “intent” to comply with the law which required Official Notification 70 days prior to the election.

redhank: Yes; you are absolutely right. And Libertarian candidate Bob Barr filed a lawsuit arguing both the D’s and the R’s had missed the filing deadline. The court dismissed the case, noting that Barr had waited to file his suit until 2 or 3 days before the absentee ballots, already printed, were scheduled to be sent out. (cite omitted) (The suit would have failed, anyway, because the law merely says, the party is “entitled” to have its nominee on the ballot if it gets the name in on time. This does not mean, the state cannot exercise its discretion to include late names on the ballot, anyway.) ADMINISTRATOR

Again, just because a candidate is not entitled to be on the ballot does not prohibit the state from putting his name there anyway.

To say nothing of the conflict between this proposed change to Texas Election Code 192.033; with  192.031, which section entitles party nominees qualified for office to appear on the ballot.  http://law.onecle.com/texas/election/192.031.00.html And as we have already seen, in 2008, Boyd Richie, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”) swore Presidential nominee Obama was “duly nominated,” making him the qualified nominee.

And did you catch the last line?  ‘Effective date September 1, 2011.’ To paraphrase my Reply to a Comment submitted by gregnh, passing a bill that would alter the 2012 election assumes  the law survives any legal challenges and that regulations/rules instructing the SoS how to carry out this law; take effect in time for the 2012 general election (if not the primary/caucus contests).  (This still does not mean Electors will elect a President who is Constitutionally eligible for the job unless 1) the law (or a law) includes a provision, Electors may only elect a President whose name appeared on the ballot; and 2) the NPVI does not pass.)

But here’s the biggest overall problem I have with Mr. Berman’s ‘efforts’ to shore up the integrity of the election process in Texas:  Texas law already provides ample remedy to redress the fraud from 2008.

As I have detailed in several articles and accompanying Comments, as well as the citizen complaint of election fraud against Boyd Richie, Chair of the TDP:  current Texas state laws offer some of the strongest remedies to the election fraud related to candidate ballot eligibility, that tainted the 2008 election, from subjecting the TDP to the state’s Open Records law to subjecting Boyd Richie to Mandamus.  Just for example, see JUDGE ABBOTT WOULD ORDER TDP CHAIR BOYD RICHIE TO DECLARE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE BARACK OBAMA IS INELIGIBLE FOR THE JOB; CLOWNS to the LEFT of ME; JOKERS to the RIGHT (1 of 2); CLOWNS to the LEFT of ME; JOKERS to the RIGHT (2 of 2); OPEN LETTER to GREG ABBOTT, ATTORNEY GENERAL of TEXAS; A ROADMAP to ELECTION FRAUD in TEXAS in the 2008 PRESIDENTIAL (ELECTORS) ELECTION; TEXAS TWO-STEP; REMEMBER the ALAMO?; and IDIOMS!.

So, we have 3 approaches to fixing our electoral process so as to ensure the Constitutional eligibility of our Presidential nominee.  Let’s compare and contrast their success.

The revolving door policy has resulted in the election of several new state (and federal) officials.  But none of them has publicly raised the issue of election fraud viz a viz ballot eligibility.

Several hundred citizens from 6 (six) states have downloaded and filed my citizen complaints.  But their conduct can hardly be characterized as revolutionary when, ignored by their A’sG, they have not publicly petitioned for a fair hearing on the steps of their state seats of government.  Ha, I cannot even persuade citizens in all 50 states to examine their own laws so as to determine whether they are applicable states for my citizen complaints!  Worse, azgo looked up laws in some other states and was able to identify AL and MO are applicable states – this information first appeared on this blog months ago now – yet no one from MO or AL has contacted me to get the ball rolling in either of those states!

Then, there’s Mr. Berman’s flawed proposed legislation which, according to the article in Lubbock Online, likely won’t pass, anyway.

These are bills that Berman has unsuccessfully filed in previous sessions.

In the 2007 session, for example, then Rep. David Swinford, R-Dumas, chairman of the House State Affairs Committee, single-handedly killed all of Berman’s bills on the advice of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott.

Committee chairmen have the power to kill bills they consider harmful to the state. Swinford killed Berman’s bills because Abbott advised him that if the Legislature passed them, they would not survive court challenges and the state would spend millions of dollars on legal fees, like California did in the mid-1990s.

(So much for my idea of inviting suit by any candidate aggrieved as to the state’s definition of who is (Constitutionally) “qualified” for office and, therefore, may have his name printed on the ballot; so as to fix on a legally binding definition of NBC!)

Oh, and for your information, Representative Berman just became a member of the House Elections Committee!

http://www.house.state.tx.us/members/member-page/?district=6

Revolting.

Given my extensive research into and knowledge of these issues in general and TX law in particular, perhaps citizens in Tyler, TX, the district represented by Mr. Berman, can suggest that if he is determined to propose new laws to address candidate eligibility, he should review the provisions in HOW to WRITE SMART CANDIDATE ELIGIBILITY LAWS in your STATE (and make applying to get on the ballot harder than applying to get into Harvard).

Or, Tyler residents could ‘vote with their feet.’  Because besides being the simplest and quickest means to the eligibility end, I am still convinced, carried out as I envision, it will work.

Here is the last paragraph in that Reply to gregnh I posted earlier:

On the other hand, if even one AG in a state with an existing ballot eligibility law, however flawed, acted to initiate an investigation pursuant to one citizen complaint of election fraud, then once the targeted D could not come up with a reasonable basis for swearing Obama was Constitutionally eligible for the job in 2008, this alone would signal the end to Obama’s candidacy, even without an ensuing prosecution for election fraud, or the enactment of any other laws. ADMINISTRATOR


A COUP, THROUGH and THROUGH (3 of 4)

September 6, 2010

(Note to Readers:  The “COUP” Series is now complete.  See, A COUP, THROUGH and THROUGHEPILOGUE.)

© 2010 jbjd

A COUP, THROUGH and THROUGH (3 of 4) is the third installment in the 4-part series describing the fraud pulled off at the 2008 DNC Services Corporation Presidential Nominating Convention in order to ensure Barack Obama would receive the nomination so that his name would appear next to the D on the general election ballot.  The groundwork for the present article, “The Coup at the Convention,” was laid in the first 2 (two) installments, A COUP, THROUGH and THROUGH (1 of 4); and A COUP, THROUGH and THROUGH (2 of 4).  Trust me, if you understand what got us here, to the convention, then you are now at the same jumping off point as those people who were determined to steal the nomination.  Yep; just like you, from here on in, they were winging it, too.  Because something they hadn’t anticipated happened at the start of the convention which could have derailed their best laid plans to obtain the nomination.  Indeed, as I wasn’t there, it is only in retrospect I can explain to you what I later realized is about to go down, notwithstanding as it turns out, I was responsible for what happened next.

The Coup at the Convention

Judging by how hard they had fought to elbow Clinton out of the race at the beginning of the primary and caucus contests, powerful parties interested in placing Obama in the White House knew from the start, the only certain way to force this flawed candidate on the American people was to limit his exposure to public scrutiny by sewing up his nomination well in advance of the August 25 nominating convention.  They failed, miserably.  Indeed, while publicly maintaining since February, his nomination was a fait accompli; even they didn’t feel comfortable enough until August 14 that, having strong-armed a sufficient number of pledged delegates and paid off the rest, no matter what, they would pull off the nomination in an open roll call vote of pledged delegates from all states on the floor of the convention; to concede consistent with past practice the name of any other candidate seeking the nomination should also be formally entered into the roll.

Yes, they were confident on August 14 and for almost the next 11 (eleven) days that their Herculean investments in his candidacy over the past couple of years would pay off, better late than never.  And in the end, even accounting for the open roll call vote of pledged delegates from every state, from the floor of the convention,  he would walk away with the nomination.

Have Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) recruit Obama in the summer of 2006 to run against Clinton for the 2008 Presidential nomination?  Check.  Immediately thereafter, have DNC Chair Howard Dean rig the delegate apportionment process so as to ensure that Clinton, despite winning on account of real votes cast in state contests for her, would nonetheless lose and Obama, despite losing the actual vote count, would win?  Check, check, and check.   Have him appoint Pentacostal Preacher Leah Daughtry, DNC Chief of Staff, to be the CEO of the 2008 DNC  Services Corporation Presidential Nominating Convention?  Check.  Have him make Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and 3rd in line of Presidential succession, the Chair of the 2008 Convention thus enabling her to control the nomination process (and after making him the nominee, to co-sign the Certification of his Nomination swearing to election officials he is Constitutionally eligible to be President to get them to print his name on the ballot in states whose laws only allow on the ballot the names of candidates who are legally qualified for the job)?  Check.

Then, on August 25, the first day of the convention, something unexpected happened which began to unsettle his henchmen; and which, by Tuesday, August 26, the second night of the convention, had panicked them into pulling a bait and switch on the scheduled roll call vote of pledged delegates from all states on the floor of the convention, scrambling to preserve the chance that just through the use of that roll call, he could get the nomination.

That’s when they scrapped the scheduled open roll call vote of all states on the floor of the convention, simultaneously orchestrating a convoluted ploy affording them plausible deniability, they had not.

The ‘change’ in voting procedure, fashioned by both the Clinton and Obama camps Tuesday night, was rolled out to the press in Wednesday morning’s conference call.  (Even the word “change” was never used.) Bill Burton, spokesperson for the Obama campaign,  handed off the details to Jenny Backus; and she only prefaced her remarks by saying, she would “talk a little bit today, um, about some of the, um, process that you will see that will happen tonight, um, at the convention.”

Last night, convention secretary Alice Germond; ah, Jeff Berman, who is a senior adviser to the Barack Obama campaign; and Craig Smith who is a senior adviser to Hillary Clinton sent out a joint note to, um, all of the state delegation chairs with some information about, um, Wednesday’s roll call vote.  Ah, basically, um, here’s the guidance that we can give you, ah, so far.  Ah, last night and this morning, state delegations received vote tally sheets for their delegates.  Um, throughout the day today they’ll be distributing those tally sheets to their delegates.  Um, the cheat sheets will be completed by 4pm mountain time.  Eh, today from about 3 to 5pm mountain time   the voting and roll call procedure will happen.  Um, the convention will gavel open at 3, ah, there’ll be, um, 3 nominating speeches, um, for Senator Clinton, a nominating speech and seconding speeches, ah, and then a nominating speech and 3 seconding speeches for Senator Obama.  Ah, they will, ah, each candidate’s speeches will total, ah, no more than 15 minutes, so that’ll be about a half an hour of speeches.  Once the speeches are concluded the vote tally sheets will be collected, ah, by the office of the secretary, ah, and then we will begin the roll call of the states and the delegation chair or her designee will announce the totals for each candidate.  So, that’s the procedure how the roll call vote is gonna work today.

Um, and, ah, you can look forward to later this morning, ah, a joint statement from the Clinton and Obama office about who will be giving those nominating speeches, um, for each of us.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/08/27/roll-call-details-hammered-out/?fbid=yBSb83MFwB9

A reporter from BBC (whose name I did not get) asked, “…in reference to the roll call vote, I just wanted to confirm that there’s not going to be stoppage of, of any sort of states, that all 50 states will have their say and their vote tallies announced, right?  There won’t be any kind of stopping?” Id.

Ms. Backus replied, “Um, the guidance that we’re giving you on the roll call vote is basically exactly what I just, ah, said to you right there.  Um, it will go from, ah, 3 to 5pm mountain, ah, which is 5 to 7pm eastern, um, and that’s the procedure on how it’s gonna work.”  Id.

Joe Manus, St. Louis Post Dispatch asked, “So the roll call will be at the beginning of tonight’s proceedings; and will the states be doing their unofficial tallies like this morning at the breaksfast?” Id.

“States will, um, begin to do their, um, unofficial tallies at the breakfast and throughout the day, um, and they will turn in those tally sheets, ah, this evening after either during or after, um, the nominating speeches before the call of the roll begins.” Id.

In sum, Ms. Backus told the press, pledged delegates will begin voting at their hotels this morning and throughout the day as delegation chairs distribute the “cheat sheets” to members of their delegations, only until 4:00 mountain time, when they are due to be delivered to the floor of the convention to be added into state totals which will be announced during the roll call of all states on the floor of the convention beginning at 3:00 mountain time.

Get it?

Delegates awoke on Wednesday, August 27, and shuffled off to another round of state delegation breakfasts where, in addition to their coffee and tea, they were now served up this bitter elixir from their delegation chairs.  They would have to cast votes for their candidates after breakfast, in the hotel, behind closed doors, and then re-group on the floor of the convention.

Their response?  Total confusion.

At least according to this account published in the Austin Chronicle at 1:33 on Wednesday afternoon, describing what had happened that morning when Boyd Richie, Chair of the Texas Democratic Party (“TDP”), a super delegate who had committed to Obama before the end of the primary/caucus contests, announced the new plans to the Texas delegation.  (All mistakes appear in original.)

Finally, a Roll Call Vote

Boyd Richie announced a change to the Roll Call Vote process at this morning’s Delegate Breakfast. After receiving our delegate credentials, we were directed to a small room in the west wing of the host hotel. Inside the room we presented our delegate credential and ID, then placed our president preference (Obama, Clinton, or Abstain) and signed our name. This was our official vote. The list will be copied and published then delivered to the Pepsi Center via a shuttle bus around 12:30pm (Emphasis added by jbjd.)

Mr. Richie stated that officials staying at other hotels would still have the opportunity to vote later today. (Emphasis added by jbjd.)

Chairman Richie was upset both visibility and emotionally when some delegates asked whether observers would be present during the voting process. “We’re all Democrats”, said Richie in an angry tone. Finally, after several interruptions from some delegates requesting an observer, he asked the Obama registered agent Ron Kirk and Hillary registered agent Garry Mauro whether they wanted observers. Registered agents are the official representatives for campaigns. Mr. Kirk said they [Obama delegates] were not interested in having observers. As he said this, some Obama supporters began to chant, “Unity, unity.” In place of Mr. Mauro, John Oeffinger represented the Hillary campaign and honored the request of Hillary delegates to assign observers. John then immediately scrambled about the ballroom to schedule observers in shifts.

Strangely, we’ve also been told that we’ll vote again this evening. Mr. Richie said he did not know the process for delegates that wish to change their vote from what they placed on this morning’s ballot. (Emphasis added by jbjd.)

After voting, we were sent to a table to obtain our seating assignment for this evenings Roll Call Vote at the Pepsi Center.

So, how many times do we vote? Which one counts? I guess we’ll find out tonight.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/News/Blogs/index.html/objID666330/blogID/

How many times do we vote?”  “Which one counts?”  Mr. Richie’s announcement there was a “change” in the voting procedure obviously left the Texas delegation with the impression, the ‘process’ used by the DNC to choose their Presidential nominee was ‘play it by ear.’

In contrast, that same morning, at 9:43, the Rocky Mountain News announced convention committee CEO Leah D. Daughtry described the voting process was ‘business as usual,’ pursuant to the ‘rules.’

Convention roll-call plans set for tonight

COLORADO CONVENTION CENTER — Each state at tonight’s session of the Democratic National Convention will announce the results of its delegate tally during a roll call that has been the source of much speculation and controversy this week.

Convention committee CEO Leah D. Daughtry said the roll call will take place as it has in previous conventions, despite speculations that a compromise between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton might result in a departure from the usual process.

The roll call is guided by the rules of the party,” Daughtry said at this morning’s convention press briefing. “It will proceed just as the rules dictate. (Emphasis added by jbjd.) Every state and every delegate will have the opportunity to vote. Everyone will be represented. Everyone will have their votes counted.”

The roll call will begin with each state announcing its delegate vote totals for the two Democratic candidates after a series nominating and seconding speeches for Clinton and Obama, Daughtry said.

Voting has already begun, as delegates began receiving tally cards this morning. (Emphasis added by jbjd.)

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/news/2008/aug/27/convention-roll-call-plans-set/

Guided by the rules of the party…just as the rules dictate?”  Rules?  What rules?

Certainly not the Delegate Selection Rules, 2, Participation, F:

In accordance with Article Nine, Section 12 of the Charter of the Democratic Party of the United States, votes shall not be taken by secret ballot at any stage of the delegate selection
process
…?

http://s3.amazonaws.com/apache.3cdn.net/3e5b3bfa1c1718d07f_6rm6bhyc4.pdf

Or Article Nine, Section 12 of the Charter:

All meetings of the Democratic National Committee, the Executive Committee, and all other official Party committees, commissions and bodies shall be open to the public, and votes shall not be taken by secret ballot.)

http://s3.amazonaws.com/apache.3cdn.net/58e635582dc516dd52_5wsmvyn09.pdf

This drivel points to why I said in COUP (2 of 4), it’s useless trying to reinstate order to the Democrat’s Presidential nominating process by falling back on the rules, regulations, and Charter of the Democratic Party.

By 12:53, Ben Smith at Politico was announcing Barack Obama’s campaign has reverted to plans for a traditional roll call on the convention floor… (Emphasis added by jbjd.)

There’s a bit of confusion about the plans for a roll call, and some Democrats say they’re dissatisfied by a process that has them voting in private, by state. But that’s the old-fashioned way, says my colleague Andy Glass, who’s covered these for years.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0808/A_traditional_roll_call.html

But whichever version of events you bought into – “just as the rules dictate”;  “the old-fashioned way”; or ‘play it by ear’ – one thing was clear.  From the outside looking in, it wasn’t easy to recognize these events for what they were:  the signal that Obama’s warriors had decided at the last minute to scrub the scheduled open roll call vote of pledged delegates from all states on the floor of the convention, which was expected to have been followed by Clinton’s release of her pledged delegates, and then another vote after that, which was supposed to give him the nomination.

Incredible, huh.  Thousands of eye witnesses in Denver, including the press, scrutinizing every detail of the goings on inside the convention, and no one asked why whoever was in charge had decided to scrap the open roll call of pledged delegates.  Why?  Because they lacked the information necessary to recognize what they were observing.  So, what was this ‘thing’ that happened under everyone’s nose yet flew under the radar, so significant it caused Obama’s allies in the DNC to re-orient the nomination process at the last minute in order to hide votes for Clinton from her pledged delegates as the preferred means to guarantee his nomination?

Word had spread to the Clinton pledged delegates sent to the convention from those 13 vote binding states, including CA, that the laws in their states required them to hold fast to their candidate through at least the first round of voting at the convention; and that their Attorneys General had received complaints Obama’s people were subverting the law by trying to get those delegates to promise to switch their votes to him, even before they got to the convention. We know that at least one of those A’sG, Thurbert Baker (D-GA), instructed that state’s pledged delegates to obey the law.  Consequently, these delegates were going to obey the law, and vote for her through at least the first round.  Some, including Clinton pledged delegates from CA, even after that.

So, why was this such a big deal? BECAUSE OBAMA AND HIS CONSORTS HAD ONLY AGREED TO HOLD AN OPEN ROLL CALL VOTE ON THE FLOOR OF THE CONVENTION RELYING ON THE FACT, SEVERAL HUNDRED CLINTON PLEDGED DELEGATES FROM VOTE BINDING STATES WOULD HAVE NO IDEA THEY WERE ‘PLEDGED’ PLEDGED TO CLINTON WHEN THEY REACHED THE FLOOR OF THE CONVENTION. Thus, those pledged delegates who had already been successfully co-opted  to switch their votes to him, added to those who would enthusiastically switch to him in the fabricated momentum of the occasion; plus those who would fatalistically give in to the feigned inevitability of his nomination, would easily put his numbers over the top.

But didn’t I say, in COUP (1 of 4), Obama’s agents would have known which states had vote binding laws before they twisted the arms of Clinton delegates in those states since the state delegate selection Plan sent to the RBC for approval had to include details of any state laws respecting the conduct at the convention of pledged delegates from that state? Yep; that’s what I said.  So now you’re probably thinking, ‘well, jbjd, if Obama’s people knew about the laws in those states by looking at those delegate selection Plans then, wouldn’t any delegates seeking guidance as to their conduct at the convention by examining the state Plan, be able to read about the state’s vote binding status, too?’  Nope.  Know why?  Because there was nothing in those state Plans about vote binding laws. And now you are probably shaking your heads.  Why did I say the Plans submitted to the RBC explain how Obama’s people knew in advance which states had vote binding laws if the Plans contain no information about vote binding laws!

To answer this question, you have to read the fine print in the RBC Regulations.

Section 2, Submission and Review of Plans, regulation 2.2, Formal Submission, reads, “Each State Party Committee shall include the following documentation with the submission of its Plan to the RBC…”  “I., “… a copy of all state statutes reasonably related to the delegate selection process…”  Id. Did you catch that?  The rules don’t say, this documentation about special state laws regarding how pledged delegates must vote at the convention is a part of the state delegate selection Plan.  The RBC rules only tell the state committee, when submitting the delegate selection Plan for our approval, you have to attach this additional information.

In other words, this additional information forwarded to the RBC by the state party about special state laws respecting party delegates – this would include laws spelling out how to submit to state election officials the name of the Presidential nominee to be printed on the state ballot –  does not become a part of the accompanying state delegate Plan.  Wanna see?

Here’s California’s approved 2008 Delegate Selection Plan.  Nothing in either the Table of Contents or the body of the Plan, references any special laws requiring pledged delegates to vote for the candidate voters in that state elected them to represent, on the floor of the convention.

This means that pledged delegates wading through the various DNC documents for guidance as to how they should vote at the convention would only find this line on p. 19 in the DNC Call for the 2008 Convention:

All delegates to the National Convention pledged to a presidential candidate shall in all good conscience reflect the sentiments of those who elected them.  (Emphasis added by jbjd.)

“Good conscience.”  But nothing about the law!

Here’s just a sample of language I pulled together from the laws in some of those vote binding states.

“Each person selected as a delegate shall sign a pledge that the person will continue to support at the national convention the candidate for President of the United States the person is selected as favoring until 2 convention nominating ballots have been taken.”  OR

“Each political party shall, on the first ballot at its national convention, cast this Commonwealth’s vote for the candidates as determined by the primary or party caucus.”  KY

“Each delegate or alternate delegate to the national convention of his political party shall cast their vote on all ballots for the candidate who received this state’s vote.”  OK

“Each delegate to the national convention shall use his best efforts at the convention for the party’s presidential nominee candidate who received the greatest number of votes in the presidential preference election until the candidate is nominated for the office of president of the United States by the convention.”  AZ

“As a delegate to the national convention of the Democratic Party, I pledge myself to vote on the first ballot for the nomination of president by the Democratic Party as required by Section 1-8-60 NMSA 1978.”  NM

“Delegates and alternates shall be bound to vote on the first ballot at the national convention for the candidate receiving the most votes in the primary.”  VA

“The delegates to the national conventions shall be bound by the results of the preferential presidential primary for the first two (2) ballots and shall vote for the candidate to whom they are pledged.”  TN

In an Opinion now appended to his state’s binding vote law, the words of the Attorney General of GA reach the heart of similar laws enacted in all of these states:  “This section reflects the legitimate interest of the state in insuring orderliness in the electoral process, and it provides a means of presenting the political preferences of the people of this state to a political party.”  GA

(Can you imagine how long it took me to research the election laws in all 50 states in order to find the 13 states that bound their delegates at the convention?)

The majority of pledged delegates from vote binding states were unaware of their special status coming into the convention.  How can I prove this?  And, more importantly, how do I know that news of their obligations under the vote binding laws of their states still managed to reach Clinton pledged delegates?  And that this new found knowledge was a game changer to the roll call vote?

In the summer of 2008, I was only one of hundreds of citizen activists who became immersed in the machinations of the Presidential nominating process of the Democratic Party.  As I previously explained, one of my contributions was to ‘discover’ and then publicize the existence of those 13 vote binding states.  As I wrote in A COUP, THROUGH and THROUGH (2 of 4), my work did not immediately ignite the endorsement of people who could have spearheaded a massive public education campaign in advance of the convention.  GA was the one state in which I and my team of Georgians were able to get out a concerted campaign to alert both Clinton pledged delegates and AG Baker, Obama’s agents were breaking the law.  And, as a result, AG Baker reminded delegates in that state, “pledged” means pledged. Id. Eventually, in the days immediately preceding the convention, my work on vote binding states did attract the attention of members of the party who, previously unaware these laws existed, saw the strategic value of the work to support the Clinton campaign.  Id.

But what I hadn’t yet told you, is that my work on vote binding states also attracted the attention of another citizen activist, from CA, who not only managed to get inside the convention, but who also had a hand in assembling packets of information that were distributed to all delegates.  Guess what she slipped into these delegate packets?  Yep; my materials on the laws regarding the votes of pledged delegates from vote binding states.

Nancy Pelosi, Chair of the 2008 DNC Convention, was a member of the CA delegation.  She addressed the CA delegates at their first delegation breakfast on Monday, August 25.  Listen as she not-so-subtly twisted arms to get Clinton pledged delegates to violate CA law.  Imagine, the Chair of the 2008 DNC Convention, soliciting Clinton pledged delegates to abandon the will of the voters, in defiance of the law, in order to support her candidate of choice?   Imagine being a Clinton pledged delegate sitting in the audience under the watchful eye of the powerful Madame Speaker; holding a packet of materials that informed you for the first time, you are from a vote binding state.  How free do you suppose you would feel to question what she was saying, let alone to express disdain at what she was asking you to do?

Another member of the CA delegation receiving this information was Attorney Gloria Allred, a Clinton pledged delegate.  Watch while she informs reporters when Monday’s breakfast was over, that fellow delegates had asked her to research whether the law required them to vote for Clinton on the first round of balloting.  (Some confusion arose because CA election law applicable to either the D or the R Presidential preference primary is codified in separate sections.   But D delegates are bound by law to the candidate voters elected them to represent, arguably until a candidate is nominated at the convention.)  Ms. Allred makes a point of saying, she will vote for Clinton on the first round in order to carry out the will of the voters who elected her; but makes clear, she does not yet know whether such a result is required by law.

By Tuesday morning’s breakfast, Ms. Allred had researched CA election law.  Here she is after breakfast, informally trying to get word out to Clinton pledged delegates,  they are bound to vote for their candidate at the convention.  (I wish I could see the papers she is waving around.  Maybe one of these was my letter to AG Brown complaining Obama was poaching Clinton delegates in his state and asking him to intervene?)

Later that same day, speaking at the end of a rally to celebrate the 88th anniversary of women’s suffrage, the 19th Amendment, Ms. Allred, claiming she was denied the opportunity to formally address fellow delegates at breakfast, now informs the crowds, in CA, the primary is “binding.”  She points out, ‘voting for Clinton is consistent with DNC rules which say, use your “conscience” to represent the voters who elected us, since they elected us to vote for Clinton…’

She reasons, ‘even if Hillary releases, we owe an obligation to the voters.’

That night, Pelosi, Obama, Dean, and Reid, et al. decided to call off the open roll call vote of all states scheduled to take place Wednesday evening on the floor of the convention.

So, instead of waiting until after the first round of voting during the open roll call of all states on the floor of the convention, Clinton released her delegates early Wednesday afternoon.  AFTER THE FIRST ROUND OF VOTING (albeit behind closed doors at the hotel).  Now, technically, according to some of these vote binding laws, pledged delegates from vote binding states were free to vote for the candidate they in “good conscience” (from the DNC Delegate Selection Plan) concluded was a “fair reflection” (from the DNC Charter) of the will of the voters who (indirectly) elected them.  And they might have, except for one thing:  having already voted once, back at the hotel, they would have no opportunity to vote again.

This last minute early release of Clinton delegates from their pledges could have created another problem if it hadn’t also escaped detection.  See, since Clinton did not release her delegates until Wednesday afternoon; when Clinton pledged delegates from vote binding states voted at their hotels Wednesday morning, they had to vote for her according to the law.  Thus, any vote totals from those 13 vote binding states that were then transmitted to the Secretary should have reflected the number of delegates appointed as the result of votes cast in the state for the candidate, at the time of the primary or caucus contest, right?  Not surprisingly, they did not.

Here are the numbers of Clinton pledged delegates awarded as the result of votes voters cast for her in those vote binding states: AZ – 31, CA- 204, GA-27, IN-38, KY-37, MA-55, NH-9 NM-14, OH-74, OK-24, OR-21, TN-40, and VA-29. This makes a total of 609, just from those vote binding states. http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P08/D-HF.phtml The total number of votes from Clinton delegates just from those vote binding states we saw ‘vote’ from the floor of the convention, before NY, should have been 415.  But it wasn’t.  Not even close.  (The low number of Clinton votes becomes even more suspect when you consider, in addition to votes from Clinton pledged delegates from vote binding states, the totals would also have included votes from Clinton pledged delegates who were not legally bound to vote for her but who, in “good conscience,” would have honored the voters who elected them by sticking to their candidate, at least on the first round.)

The DNC refuses to release an ‘official’ tally of votes cast in the hotels, by whom.  I received an email from a KY Clinton pledged delegate who said her delegation chair, Jennifer Moore, ignored her request for a list of that state’s votes, too.  Shortly after the convention, the DNC did release some kind of tally sheet that included ALL states, not just those states voting on the floor of the convention; but they rescinded that list shortly thereafter.   The GreenPapers published that list, with links, that are now inoperative.  In the 2 (two) years since the convention, the DNC has failed to post another list.

According to Andy Glass at Politico, “…there’s not even any formal mechanism within national party rules for each delegate’s vote to be recorded. What’s recorded is the vote of each state delegation.” Id.

The CA delegation passed.  The reason?  According to Don Frederick at the LATimes, “because a tally of its 441 votes had not been completed when the state’s name was called.”  But hadn’t they already voted back at the hotel?  (Evidently, Mr. Frederick is another one of those reporters who is unaware of the laws in those vote binding state.  He writes, “Clinton did not receive a majority in any of the recorded tallies — and in most, Obama’s backing was overwhelming. But Clinton’s support was notable in a few instances, including Arizona (40 votes for Obama, 27 for her), Kentucky (36 for him, 24 for her) and Massachusetts (65 for him, 52 for her).”  “Notable”?  How about, ILLEGAL? AZ, KY, and MA are all vote binding states.)

This means, while we can establish which of Obama’s agents suborned Clinton pledged delegates in vote binding states to violate their pledge; we cannot determine which of those delegates ended up breaking the law.  Including those pledged delegates who are PLEO‘s, or party leaders and elected officials, like mayors, governors, city councilors, and legislative leaders.   And this brings us to the heart of the matter involving Clinton pledged delegates from vote binding states:  the unpledged PLEO’s, better known as super delegates.

See, here’s the thing.  As long as pledged delegates from vote binding states remained unaware of their bound status, Obama could have managed to convert an only slight (contrived) lead in pledged delegates into a landslide win.  Only, this landslide was in jeopardy once pledged delegates from vote binding states learned they were bound by the law.  But so what?  Even without any shenanigans with respect to any of the pledged delegates, based strictly on the number of pledged delegates awarded immediately after the primary and caucus contests ended; neither Clinton nor Obama had the requisite number of votes from pledged delegates alone to win the nomination.  Certainly not on the first round. At some point, if the typical give and take expected of such political theater could not produce a nominee, the unpledged PLEO’s would have broken the impasse.  And the majority of these unpledged PLEO’s had already come out publicly in support of Obama, even in states where Clinton had won the popular vote. In other words, whatever happened along the way, in the end Obama was set to run off with the nomination.

So, why the mad rush to take the nomination just from votes cast by pledged delegates?

Recall what I wrote in A COUP, THROUGH and THROUGH (1 of 4):

DNC rules provide if voting at the convention fails to support one candidate over the other then, special super delegates will add their votes to the totals to reach the number required for nomination. So they were also furiously pouring money into the PAC’s and war chests of these super delegates, in return for which the candidate received a public pledge of support positively correlated to the superior size of his financial investment.

The people who staged the 2008 DNC Services Corporation Presidential Nominating Convention needed the pledged delegates to pull off Obama’s nomination because they did not want you to see that the votes of those unpledged super delegates had been bought and paid for, well in advance of the convention, by his wealthy benefactors…

From OpenSecrets:

For those elected officials who had endorsed a candidate as of Feb. 25, the presidential candidate who gave more money to the superdelegate received the endorsement 82 percent of the time. In cases where Obama had made a contribution since 2005 but Clinton had given the superdelegate nothing, Obama got the superdelegate’s support 85 percent of the time. And Clinton got the support of 75 percent of superdelegates who got money from her but not from Obama. For this update to the Feb. 14 study the Center combined contribution data with a list of superdelegates and their endorsements compiled by The Politico as of Feb. 25.

http://www.opensecrets.org/capital_eye/inside.php?ID=338

…including Madame Pelosi, his biggest ‘vote fairy godmother’ of all.

From Dr. Lynette Long, in NoQuarter:

“Bought and Paid For! By Nancy Pelosi”

As Americans sat glued to their television sets watching the most hotly contested presidential primary in American history, pundits counted pledged delegates won in caucuses and primaries and discussed the highly prized superdelegates’ endorsements. Eventually it would be these superdelegates, Democratic officials, governors, and members of congress, who would determine the nominee, since neither contestant won enough pledged delegates in the 52 primary contests.

What the pundits forgot to tell the American public was that these superdelegates were doing some counting of their own. They weren’t counting how many of their constituents had voted for Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, but rather how much money was being put into their war chests by the Obama campaign and the Democratic hierarchy. This money, moved from one candidate to another via PAC’s, would determine their endorsements and ultimately the nomination….

http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/08/13/bought-and-paid-for-by-nancy-pelosi/

And that’s why they pulled off the coup that hid hundreds of votes of Clinton pledged delegates from vote binding states at the 2008 DNC Services Corporation Presidential Nominating Convention.

Conclusion

For readers expecting a sort of summation of the ‘lesson learned’  from all four installments of “A COUP, THROUGH and THROUGH,” the main focus of which series was the fraud pulled off at the 2008 DNC Services Corporation Presidential Nominating Convention, I offer this.

“I can only imagine Clinton would have made a much better President than Obama but, based on how he obtained the nomination, I anticipated he would make a much better crook.”  jbjd.

EPILOG

A lay person looking at this chart of delegates can easily read, the total number of delegates for either candidate fails to get the nomination.  But Obama had bought off a sufficient number of these super delegates to help him steal the nomination.  So, even with a real open roll call vote of all states from the floor of the convention, before the arm twisting and poaching, eventually, the super delegates would have had to intervene to break the impasse.

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