Everyone knows about gerrymandering. This process is used by the party in power to hold onto or expand their power by being “creative” in how a district is drawn.
Both parties engage in this behavior and some examples are more egregious than others.
Mark Goloby, while looking at the Collin County redistricting of 2021 asked, “What kind of drunken monkey drew this?”
Such activity as drawing these lines to maintain or expand power influences our elections and the outcome before the vote takes place. It is clearly against the best interests of making sure every vote counts and every vote carries equal weight.
I have written about gerrymandering in the past but let's go a step further.
Every 10 years we have a census, we count our population and redraw the lines so that each representative has about the same number of constituents.
Many in the Democratic Party have welcomed illegal aliens for years and few could figure out why, then Democrats insisted on counting illegals in the census.
To be fair the Constitution does say “people” instead of “citizens." It is telling however that almost no Democrat in office and few Republicans can see “shall not be infringed” in that same document and demand the same level of adherence to the text.
This results in states with a large population of illegal aliens having more Congressional seats than their number of citizens would otherwise possess.
Fast forward to 2020 and the census data from the federal government was not released on the usual date. You can blame covid or lawsuits, but it was not released on time. The US government had the data, they were just not sharing it with the states.
A suspicious person might think the data was not released sooner to benefit the Democratic Party at the national level.
Democrats control the Senate and the House, incumbents never stop campaigning, but the longer potential challenges can be kept guessing as to what district they are living in, the more likely they will have a shorter time to campaign and the more likely they will lose.
Texas did not get the data in time for the legislature to even act on redistricting within the state constitution. The Texas Constitution specifies that redistricting can ONLY be done during the regular session.
In a year where only one governor in the nation followed her state constitution, it is not surprising we just ignored it and completed redistricting in a special session.
The state of Texas did not move at lightning speed on redistricting and the same suspicious person that thought the Democratic administration did not release the data on time might think that the state incumbents (in charge of the process), slow walked it for the same reason as the feds, to assist with their own re-election bid.
In keeping with the theme of protecting their own election chances, those same people that could not get the redistricting done in the normal timeframe insisted on keeping the elections on the regular schedule.
Many challengers this year do not even have the districts on their signs, there was simply not enough time.
Even after the districts were announced, many challengers waited because had they launched a campaign, they felt they could get “draw out” of the district with last minute changes.
In fact, many challengers who launched campaigns have been drawn out of their districts as “minor” changes were made.
Conservatives are paying more attention to elections and election integrity than anyone has in years, and they do not like what they are seeing.
Why do voting machines that are “Never, never, never, hooked to the internet” have modems and are able to connect to the internet?
A larger question is why a state legislature controlled by “conservatives” would drop the penalty for voter fraud from a felony to a misdemeanor?
The only reason to reduce penalties that I can see is to avoid severe punishment if they are caught. Is there another explanation?
Now we are down to the county level and the problems do not stop.
The Collin County GOP decided to print off the results of early voting. Full disclosure, there are a lot of Five Star fans in the Collin County GOP; I hope there are just as many now that this post is published.
The plan to deviate from the normal procedure was presented as a way to ensure election integrity.
I can see the logic of printing off the results and comparing them to the results obtained on election night. Had I been at the meeting I might have heard this argument and voted the same way, maybe.
However, let us take a look through my suspicious lens and see what could and will happen.
If you are printing off the results it stands to reason someone will have to verify the results are legible. It would make no sense to print off the results and not make sure they are legible, correct?
The only way to do that is if a human looks at them. Humans tend to notice what they read and anyone reading the results of the early voting is likely to be curious as to the election results.
That information could be shared, intentionally or not, with some candidates. By the way, the head of the elections group in that county is the incumbent County Judge who was also running for re-election, Chris Hill.
To be clear, Chris Hill did not take advantage of all the power Greg Abbott handed out to County Judges during the lockdowns and I have written about and mentioned him several times in a positive light.
This blog post is not a hit piece by any means but a warning.
Any change in our election procedure with even a hint of potential impropriety damages our republic. Any change that holds the potential for abuse in the future should be avoided if at all possible.
If the county wants to ensure 100% accuracy and security in our elections, they need to return to paper ballots as soon as is practical and hand counting. Any electronic system has the potential for abuse. I know, I have worked on electronics for over 30 years.
How could knowing the results of early voting before the normal date influence an election?
Imagine a candidate is sure they will win by a large margin and is holding his campaign funds for a future election. Imagine that early voting data is shared with these candidates and it shows the race tighter than anyone expected. Is it not reasonable to assume this candidate would immediately start spending money to ensure victory?
Likewise, if the results are as good or better than expected the candidate that receives this information might spend even less on their campaign once they know.
How is this improper? Do all the candidates have this same information on election night? If only one candidate knows this, they can make spending and campaign adjustments based on this information, it is akin to insider trading.
It brings up serious legal and ethical issues that could have simply been avoided by keeping to the normal election procedures. Even if the current people involved do not take advantage of this flaw, can we be sure future ones will not?
The only way the average person can ensure the party and the elected offices are good is if they themselves get involved.
By all means vote and by all means get others to vote. When you are done, the day after the votes have been counted and the signs are taken down, start looking for challengers.
Convince them to run or start planning your own campaign in two, four or six years.
There are hundreds, thousands and in some cases millions of people in any given district, an unopposed election should sadden us all, be it in the primary or in the general.
Robert West, The Five Star Plan