SocraticGadfly: Abbott wastes Texas money for nonexistent ‘vote fraud’

May 19, 2008

Abbott wastes Texas money for nonexistent ‘vote fraud’

Showing that he is a “GOP Oreo” (bipartisan on the outside, attack dog on the inside” Greg Abbott dug up a whole 26 “cases” of alleged vote fraud. I put “cases” in scare quotes because part of what Abbott labels as “cases” is old folks getting someone else to mail in a mail-in ballot for them, and that person then not identifying himself or herself on the envelope. (Texas law makes it a crime to carry someone else’s filled-out ballot to the mailbox, unless the carrier puts his or her own name and address on the envelope.)

In other words, 18 of the 26 cases Abbott prosecuted were technicalities.
Jerry Strickland, an Abbott spokesman, rejected that, saying the attorney general's office responds to complaints it receives. Under state law, the attorney general can initiate voter-fraud cases or respond to district attorneys seeking outside help in local political cases.

Bullshit. Who complained?

With just 18 of these non-cases, Mr. Strickland, it looks pretty obvious that Abbott deliberately went searching for penny-ante crap like this.
In another case, three Hidalgo County women were indicted on charges they illegally assisted elderly voters and mishandled the mail-in ballots in the 2005 McAllen mayor’s race. A judge dismissed the charges in March.

“They were not our investigations, and I didn't feel they would stand up before a jury,” said Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra.

Read the story for more examples of Greg Abbott looking for the mote in somebody else’s eye while walking around with a 2x4 in his own.

Meanwhile, in the real world, has Greg Abbott prosecuted, or even investigated, allegations of real vote fraud?

Hell, no:
Democrats accuse Mr. Abbott of a partisan operation to discourage voters, especially minorities.

They contrast the prosecutions with complaints that more than 100 ballots were mishandled in a 2005 Highland Park election, a case in which Mr. Abbott took no action.

First, Mr. “Open Government” needs to be open with us just how much money he wasted on this snipe hunt.

Second, he needs to stop being chickenshit about dodging interviews. Did he get marching orders from Rove?
Strickland said Abbott declined to be interviewed because of ongoing litigation and investigations.

Citing pending litigation, the office also declined to release letters, e-mails and other documents – other than a list of the cases prosecuted – sought by The News under the state's Public Information Act. So it’s unclear how many complaints the attorney general has received or investigated overall.

Is it something about being the state’s AG, if you’re a Republican, that has an especially corrupting influence?

Texas Observer has much more than the Snooze does, including having been on this a month earlier.

And, his own initial press release made clear he was targeting large, Democratic-leaning metropolitan areas:
In early 2006, he announced “a statewide initiative to work with local law enforcement and prosecutors to combat and prevent the persistent problem of voter fraud.” The project’s initial phase would target “44 key counties that either have a history of voter fraud or the population of which exceeds 100,000,” the release said.

And money for this came from the same state grant pool that funded the Tulia non-drug task force clusterfuck.

Oh, if you visit teh Snooze story, there is a sidebar about Abbott pushing again (natch) for voter ID laws.

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