Fighting for election integrity and transparency

Left wing assault on elections planed, cheered by progressives

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Democrats ditched their impeachment fever dream last weekend. This latest lash-out, a failure like the rest of their unhinged witch-hunts, is of a more trivial strain of activities planned for 2021.

Fresh off this second impeachment defeat and without a mandate (electoral wins in 2020 are legitimately questioned), some on the left are setting their sights on a heavy lift, rigging future elections.

In a “serious” piece published in New York Magazine, Andrew Cohen argues desperate for power Democrats should leverage their second impeachment loss to push for election legislation (For The People Act) they have zero business proposing, let alone cramming down the collective throat of the citizenry. The majority of Americans do not trust the 2020 election was fairly administered.

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Baseline for Election Integrity in 2019 Isn’t Enough in 2021

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Did you notice there were no specifics in Greg Abbott’s state of the state address on the topic of securing Texas elections?

If you’ve been paying attention, some of the needed reforms are easy to rattle off.

List maintenance, protecting against mail-in ballot fraud, and riding our elections of outside influence, specifically from big tech oligarchs buying election officials and prescribing how elections should be run.

It would have been nice to hear these and others advocated for strongly. That they weren’t should have activists on bait-and-switch alert.

Since his State of the State address, Abbott has put a little meat on his election integrity emergency item’s bones.

Specifically, in an interview with the progressive news outlet Texas Tribune, a great “starting place” is Senate Bill 9, an election integrity measure that failed to become law in 2019.

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DAT Statement on State of the State Address

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AUSTIN, TEXAS — Election integrity, now an emergency item, must be shrewdly addressed during the 2021 legislative session to ensure trust in Texas elections moving forward.

Yesterday Governor Greg Abbott set out his emergency priorities for the session, including election integrity.

Direct Action Texas applauds this decision and will ensure measures aimed at accomplishing this end are effective and understood by our network of activists around the state.

There are multiple areas where elections need attention to ensure they’re fair and free from fraud. DAT has identified three items as paramount: providing accurate voter rolls, barring big tech from interfering in our elections, and clarifying mail-in ballot procedures.

In this season, piddling on the margins and calling it election integrity won’t do, and watchdog groups will have a tighter strike zone in 2021.

Past efforts to make Texas elections more secure, including passage of voter ID, while initially hammered in the press, have become widely accepted as common sense and overcome false claims of suppression.

Leadership will require lawmakers to look past spun up faux rage in the present to press through to a brighter future.

Direct Action Texas is a premier election integrity watchdog. You can learn more about our work at www.DirectActionTX.com.

Three Areas of Needed Election Reform

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Reforms are desperately needed this legislative session to stem hemorrhaging trust in Texas elections.

The three most important areas to address before sine die 2021 are list maintenance, mail-in balloting, and big tech election interference.

This isn’t a comprehensive list, merely items the legislature has been given every possible reason to tackle after the shambolic execution of the 2020 election.

One note on election administration; there are counties where minimally altered elections were run in 2020. These counties are not the problem but will be aided by reform. Notable exceptions Harris, Dallas, and Travis are bad actors who need to be leash trained.

Additionally, the Secretary of State, who serves at the Governor’s pleasure, needs more precise directions on the aforementioned priorities after a similarly inglorious 2020.

Let’s get to work on these items before the entire system is irreparably corrupted.

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Lack of Transparency Undermining Trust in Elections

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What is Travis County hiding?

Asked for election records in December, the county initially tried to ignore the request. Only after being asked to comply 30 days later did the county send an extravagant bill of $6,000 for record production.

This obscene cost (for a subset of election records) is being contested, and the county will be forced to relinquish records at far less to no cost one way or another.

Still, being forced to wrangle election records from bureaucrats undermines trust in elections.

Lawmakers should again work to streamline access and eliminate the cost of obtaining election records. During the 2019 session, SB 902 by Senator Hughes was passed and signed into law requiring all election records to be available to the public no later than 15 days after the election and for a cost of no more than $50.

This level of transparency is possible; we’ve experienced it on an ongoing basis in the case of Tarrant County. Travis County is light years behind when it comes to the speed and ease of access to records.

That Travis County and many other Democrat lead counties (Harris and Dallas), for that matter, haven’t invested in technology to empower transparency is telling.

In addition to running afoul of Texas law on the cost to record production, Travis county has run well past its deadline for compliance.

This request was received by Travis County on December 17, 2020, and ignored until January 25, 2021.

Ignored isn’t the correct term to use. The email was actually opened more than 100 times between the date it was sent, and a response was finally made.

Travis County, in this instance and others, is flaunting Texas open government laws. A complaint has been filed with the Attorney General’s office.

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