The Texas GOP and the Democratic Party could use Paper Ballots if they wanted. Let me explain how this could be possible.
Imagine your garden club or church decided “Enough is Enough” and that someone from your group needed to run for office. Imagine three members all claimed to be the best person for the job, how would you decide?
You could talk it out, vote by a show of hands or even draw straws, right? Maybe you would use a secret ballot process to keep hard feelings to a minimum. You could set an age or membership requirement to run and choose your candidate in any manner you wished.
What is allowed to every private group in America is illegal under Texas law. The Republican and Democratic Parties are private groups, not subject to every whim of the state legislature.
What is worse, the elected have decided to force private citizens to resign from these private organization if they dare run for public office. Oddly enough, our governors have a history of running for President while “serving” in Austin. Why do they not have to resign before campaigning for another office?
Going back to the garden club or church analogies, imagine the state passed a law that the person your group decided to run would have to, by law, resign any office they held in your organization?
Before anyone shouts out semi-governmental or quasi-governmental or any other variation of “not really governmental,” I agree. The political parties are not run by, instituted or part of the state government. Unless you are arguing that the political parties are part of the state government, then you are agreeing that they are not.
With that out of the way, as a private group, the GOP has a right to “freedom of association” and does not have to allow non-members to influence our nominations. This has already been argued and won in front of a federal judge in Idaho by that state’s GOP.
Did you notice that the state had to pay the GOP back for the legal bills because The State of Idaho violated the civil rights of the party by enforcing open primaries prior to the federal court ruling?
A closed primary is where only Republicans get to pick who the Republican nominee will be. This goes a long way to getting rid of “Republican” candidates that do not share our beliefs.
It prevents Democrats from choosing weak candidates in our open primaries and is an easy win in federal court. The case and the results are already laid out in the Idaho case, so why does the party leadership in Texas not stand up for our rights and our wishes?
The simple answer is they are sold out, to the elected who provide a lot of funding for the party and to their own future career plans for office.
What does any of this have to do with paper ballots?
The GOP could insist that as a private group, they can choose any manner they wish to select their nominees. We could use the caucus method that other states use where only members who bother to show up and speak at precinct meetings have a voice.
We could have the delegates at convention choose our nominees or we can use the “hand counted, paper ballot” method, which is already set out in state law and still being used by some counties in Texas.
I would encourage every Republican to contact your County Chair and State Executive Committee members (you have two) and ask them where they stand on this issue.
Each voting precinct in Texas contains about 1,800 voters but has a maximum of 5,000 voters. In primary elections 15% tend to show up. That gives you 270 ballots to count, 750 ballots in the largest precincts.
In average counties figure 6 stacks of 50 ballots. Each stack would take two minutes with a two-person team (one Republican and one Democrat) doing the counting per race.
Each race would require about 12 minutes to count. As each race was tabulated the results could be announced and in theory, the top race results could be available from this precinct 12 minutes after the counting started.
In those monster counties, it would take about 30 minutes to tally a race which means it would take a two-person team, 4 hours to tally 8 races.
How many races do you have going on in your precinct? County-wide voting is not allowed with paper ballots being hand-counted so the number is not the 200+ touted by people in Harris County that allow county-wide voting.
With 30 races in a large precinct, you would need 8 people counting but if you have 5,000 voters to ask, how hard is it to get 6 more volunteers?
The results come in precinct by precinct. Voting by precinct would allow numbered ballots to be used so if your precinct has 2,000 voters you have 2,000 ballots numbered 1-2000 with a dash and the precinct number printed after it.
There is no excuse for running out of ballots because turnout was heavier than expected. 2000 voters, 2000 ballots, you don’t get much simpler than that.
There's no way to get more than 2,000 votes, no finding a mysterious box of unnumbered ballots from “somewhere” in the middle of the night.
You vote, the votes are counted at the precinct and the results posted to the county website/news agencies as they are finished. The first number released is the total number of votes cast in each precinct so that if any race gets more, we instantly know something is up.
A people shortage? We have an election judge and poll worker at every location. Most have one from each party, so we are part way there, even for the largest precincts.
The precinct chairs know when these elections will be held and how many people are needed so within a year, they should be able to get 3 volunteers; remember, each party supplies half the counters.
If you are convinced the elections are rigged this would make it much harder to rig than the “black box” system, we have now. If you are convinced the elections are not rigged, then this would stop many people from complaining about it.
The Smith County GOP has already passed a resolution asking for paper ballots from their county and state officials.has written a resolution and this one is more direct and to the point.
More County GOPs need to act on this and the Texas State GOP needs to make it so, at least in the primaries that they have direct and total control over according to the Federal Courts.