Award winning civil rights lawyer Bartle Bull witnessed the 2008 voter intimidation in Philadelphia by the New Black Panthers. He surmised their purpose was to keep watchful eyes out of the polls so people would not know what was happening inside.
Now in 2010, we have a pretty good idea what Mr. Bull meant. Because in Houston, poll watchers for a group dedicated to election integrity called 'True the Vote' are being harassed because of what they are seeing inside the polls. And it might come as a surprise who is doing the harassing.
Not only are street operatives harassing True the Vote poll watchers, but Representative Sheila Jackson Lee and her confederates are urging law enforcement personnel to crack down – but on the poll watchers!
Lee’s thug tactics are doomed to backfire. The notion of connected elected officials prodding law enforcers to threaten law abiding citizens is an affront to decency. It is the sort of behavior which citizens around the country, in places like Wheeling, Allentown and Highland Park find particularly outrageous.
True the Vote is a group of citizen volunteers, often old ladies or stay at home moms. I should disclose they are also a client of mine. They are dedicated to exercising rights under Texas law to stand watch and record illegal activity in the polling place.
To some, this constitutes intimidation. To the rest of America, this is called public service.
They have recorded dozens and dozens of instances of voters being asked by election officials, “do you want to vote a straight party Democratic ticket?”
These old ladies have been harassed inside the polls by street ruffians as well as sharply dressed ruffian lawyers who told them, “you’ll soon learn what intimidation really means.”
And in each instance, these citizens observers stood their ground – and took names.
Others have complained, “we never had people in here writing things down!” The outrage of it all! Not since Thomas Paine has pen and pad unsettled so many.
During early voting, reports were that one of the old ladies stood too close to a voter, or “hovered.” Whether true or not, this was enough to trigger a Department of Justice investigation, and the outrage of Sheila Jackson Lee.
Never mind that Lee was later videotaped breaking Texas law by engaging voters within a prohibited zone. As we learned in the New Black Panther case, sometimes laws only flow in one direction.
And by the way, the New Black Panther party has announced they will be stationed at the polls again, this time in . . . Houston.
Then there was one Reverend Moon (no relation) who pranced around one poling place as if he owned it. Moon is a politico of the first order locally. He too joined Jackson Lee’s efforts and did all he could to discourage and bother the poll watchers.
America, take careful note – there is an active lobby in your nation that finds the most disturbing part of the 2010 elections to be that law abiding citizens are watching and memorializing the events inside a polling place. Ask yourself why?
Reasonable people might conclude there is something going on inside that they fear will be revealed.
Take further note America – a sitting Congresswoman, despite being videotaped breaking the law, has herself leveraged her considerable political pull to demand that these law abiding citizens be criminally investigated. On cue, they are being investigated by your federal government. Lee’s lawlessness is ignored, while law abiding citizens must wonder what their government has in store for them.
Yet another reason a popular tidal wave is ready to change their government next Tuesday.