The Texas GOP birthed a new and improved, two hundred 2016 Texas Republican Platform on May13, 2016. The Platform now consists of 266 planks and one of them, the Elections Integrity Plank No. 59, takes on the Texas Secretary of State’s (SoS) Election Division and directs their office to step up and better secure our Texas elections.
The new election language passed with an overwhelming 90% approval of all convention delegates. The first major change to the election plank #59 sets the expectation for the SoS:
“We support the Secretary of State strictly enforcing printing of Results Tapes for electronic voting for early voting and Election Day at polling locations after the polls close for all counties.”
This directive came about because many counties are receiving waivers to election law related to computerized voting machines. Texans are not happy with electronic voting machines according to Dr. Laura Pressley, Ph.D. who has the first formal election contest in the state with evidence of electronic voting computer corruption in Texas—in Travis County.
Dr. Pressley has presented her election contest and legal case all around the state and she tells Raging Elephant’s Radio that she has heard from voters, “From Midland to Longview, from Denton to Galveston, majority of Texans do not trust computerized voting machines. On top of that, the Texas Secretary of State’s Office is not consistently holding counties to the letter of the law for their operation and retention of mandated back up records. Overall, people have lost confidence in the process.”
Apparently, for years the Texas Secretary of State’s Election Division has provided waivers to law to Texas counties who employ computerized voting and countywide polling locations. The waivers have instructed counties to not print and retain specific paper back up records–printing of Precinct Returns/Tally/Results Tapes–because it is simply inconvenient for election judges to do so. These crucial paper back up records are mandated by the legislature in Chapter 66 of the Texas Election Code. Even the 2016 Texas Secretary of State’s Election Judges Handbook (p.53) documents and reiterates the legal requirement to adhere to Chapter 66 of the Texas Election Code to print results tapes on election night at the polling location for direct recording electronic (DRE) voting machines.
According to Ray Myers, Republican and Chairman of the Kaufman Tea Party and member of the 2016 Platform Committee who approved the elections integrity plank, “We must strictly follow our election laws and send that message to our elected representatives, including our Attorney General, Lt. Gov. and Governor. We want Results Tapes printed at the polling locations, after polls close, for ALL counties and we want a stop to all the waivers of law.”
Even Texas State Senator, Bob Hall, has recently spoke out in a press release demanding adherence to our election laws, “…it is not possible to truthfully validate any election result or conduct a legally sufficient ballot recount in the Texas counties where “electronic” voting, without a paper trail, is being allowed. The procedures for assuring vote integrity, which are clearly stated in the Texas Constitution and Texas Election Code are not being followed.”
Hall further explains, “…the Secretary of State’s office should cease issuing waivers that instruct county election officials to operate elections unlawfully…” State Senator Hall emphasized his positions and spoke directly to the 2016 Texas GOP Platform Committee in strong support of the new election integrity platform language.
Another key addition to the 2016 Texas GOP Platform addresses what is driving the SoS’s waivers to Chapters 65 and 66 of the Texas Election Code–countywide polling locations. Since 2006, Texas counties with countywide polling have allowed voters to vote anywhere in their county.
Precinct Chairs across the state have repeatedly voiced concerns about voter integrity during Early Voting and on Election Day with countywide polling locations. According to Mike Olcott, Precinct Chair in Parker County and former member of the Texas State Republican Executive Committee (SREC), “Countywide polling generates voter accountability concerns and effectively eliminates the backup paper trail for electronic voting on Election Day and I believe most voters would be uncomfortable with that if they realized it.”
As a result, counties requested for their opposition of countywide polling locations be documented, and the Platform Committee and delegates approved the addition to the 2016 Texas GOP elections plank:
“We oppose county-wide polling locations due to heightened potential for fraud.”
The third addition to the election integrity plank relates to the option for voters to use paper ballots in all elections, in all counties, to ensure the option for a traceable, paper ballot record of votes.
We support all means of protecting the integrity of our elections, including the optional use of paper ballots.
State Senator Hall is very clear how important Texas elections are, “Vote integrity is one of the most sacred responsibilities of our government. Without integrity, we have no legitimate government.”
Now the Texas GOP 2016 Platform makes it crystal clear to all. With a 90% mandate, Republican delegates have set the expectations for Texas to return to legal elections with checks, balances and traceability.
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