Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Biggest Problem Faced By Texas Democrats

by Michael Handley

The biggest problem faced by Texas Democrats is that too many Democrats don't vote because they have been fooled into thinking that their vote does not count. They have been convinced by the popular media that Texas is a RED state that Republicans will win because the state has more Republican than Democratic Voters.  Democrats, don't believe the Republican propaganda.

Texas is the only minority/majority state in the Union where Democrats are not winning statewide elections.

If every voting aged person who rejects the Republican Party's platform agenda for Texas and America will register and vote in the coming election, President Obama will win Texas' 37 electoral college votes and Paul Sadler will be Texas' next U.S. Senator.

Do the addition - it adds up - Texas is a blue state by voting age population!

Whoever wins in November will likely have the opportunity to appoint at least one and possibly up to three justices. And remember, it is the U.S. Senate that confirms the president's court appointments. So think about that before you skip the U.S. Senate ballot position, when casting your vote.

Are you a voting age person who believes every woman should have the right of privacy to make her own health care and family planning choices?  If Romney wins, he will certainly nominate extremely conservative justices to appeal to the Tea Party elements within his party.  President Romney would appoint conservative justices who support Justice Scalia's position that women have no constitutional right of privacy to choose to use contraception or choose to have an abortion, even when her life is at risk from a pregnancy.  If you are a voting age Texan who rejects these Republican policy positions, then you must make sure you are registered to vote and vote a straight Democratic Ballot.

Are you a voting age person who believes every child has the right to a quality education in an adequately funded public school system and who rejects the Republican position that our American school system should be privatized and corporatized with vouchers?   If you are a voting age Texan who rejects this Republican policy position, then you make sure you are registered to vote and vote a straight Democratic Ballot.

Are you a voting age person who believes that every American, particularly retired Americans who have spent a lifetime building a better America, have a right to life guaranteed by access to health care and who rejects the Republican policy position that the Affordable Care Act must be repealed and that Medicare and Medicaid should be privatized and corporatized with vouchers?  If you are a voting age Texan who rejects these Republican policy position, then you must make sure you are registered to vote and vote a straight Democratic Ballot.  And, by the way, don't believe the Republican lie that Medicare is  going bankrupt - it's not.

More Differences Between Texas Democratic Party Platform and Republican Party of Texas Platforms

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Reception For Democratic Candidates On The Ballot For 5th District Court of Appeals

Today, there is a reception at Plano Parr Library for the Democratic candidates for 5th District Court of Appeals. This is your opportunity to talk with the judicial candidates to find out why it is so important who serves on your Court of Appeals.  The reception is sponsored by Democratic Precinct Chairs of Collin Co. The reception is today, Thursday, September 27, 7:00pm at Plano Parr Library, 6200 Windhaven Pkwy, Plano, Tx. (map) For more information, contact Barb Korman at silverfox1026@aol.com.

The Texas District Courts of Appeals are distributed in fourteen districts around the state of Texas. The Courts of Appeal have intermediate appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases appealed from district or county courts. Like the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals, Justices of the Texas Courts of Appeals are elected to six-year terms by general election.

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas, which includes one Chief Justice and twelve Justices, has jurisdiction over appeals from both district and county courts located in Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Hunt, Rockwall and Kaufman counties. The Court hears both civil and criminal appeals.

No Democrats currently sit on Fifth Court of Appeals. In the 2012 General Election, five Democratic Candidates are running for the 5th Court of Appeals:

  • Tonya Holt for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 11
  • Penny Phillips for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 5
  • Larry Praeger for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 12
  • David Hanshen for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 9
  • Dan Wood for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 2

Penny Phillips talks about Court of Appeals Justice. Penny is an Air Force Veteran, 20-year attorney, and dedicated leader. Penny is an experienced lawyer with a long history of dedicated public service.
Both civil and criminal appeals are typically heard by a panel of three justices, unless in a particular case "en banc" hearing is ordered, in which instance all the justices of that Court hear and consider the case. (Graphical Guide to the Court System of Texas) (map)

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Women At Risk Of Being Disenfranchised

Women add to the list of voters who are potential casualties of disenfranchisement from restrictive voting laws, as reports show that women have an increasingly difficult path to obtaining proper photo ID.


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Discrepancies over a voter's legal name and the name displayed on their photo ID could stand in the way of their ability to cast a ballot in states that have enacted strict photo ID laws.  That means if a woman's name or address has changed due to marriage or divorce and her photo ID does not reflect the change, she could be turned away at the polls.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice, as many as 34% of voting-age women—who have proof of citizenship—do not have documents with their current legal name.

And as MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry points out, in Pennsylvania where a controversial voter ID has returned to a lower court, recently married or divorced women face an uphill battle in order to vote.

In an asterisk section at the bottom of the Pennsylvania Department of State Voter ID rules, the requirements reads:
* In this example a voter who recently changed her name by reason of marriage presents a valid Pennsylvania driver's license or Pennsylvania ID card accompanied by a PennDOT update card, which is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the Voter ID law regarding proof of identification.
"You need not one, but two forms of ID if you are a [woman]—there is officially a tax on being a woman in Pennsylvania if you want to vote," Harris-Perry said.

Ari Berman, who has covered voter ID laws extensively for The Nation magazine, added that Pennsylvania voters would also be subject to the individual discretion of workers at over 9,000 different polling places.  "We're talking about, at the very least, a lot of chaos on election day," he said.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Sarah Silverman Explains Voter Photo I.D. Laws

 
Caution - It's Sarah Silverman! You will hear words some might consider "inappropriate."

Comedian Sarah Silverman explains why 12 states have passed laws requiring voters to present select government issued photo I.D. photo identification before casting a ballot. She explains that new voting laws passed by Republican controlled state legislatures since 2008 require voters to present select photo I.D that up to 25 percent of some population groups do not hold. And those population groups, including African Americans and young people of every ethnic and racial group, voted predominately for Pres. Obama in 2008.

Bluntly, Silverman said that “lawmakers are trying to fuck you in the asshole” and ended up recommending everyone buy guns, because states like Texas and Tennessee have passed laws that say gun permits work as voter IDs, but Social Security cards and student IDs do not.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Polls That Include Cell Phone Only Voters Give Obama A Big Lead!

Fox News released a new poll Thursday showing that President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney in three battleground states, topping off a week of bad-news polling for the Republican presidential nominee in toss-up states.

The poll, which covered Ohio, Virginia and Florida, shows Obama leading Romney by seven points in both Ohio (49 to 42 percent) and Virginia (50 to 43 percent). In Florida, Obama leads by five points (49 to 44 percent), which is within the poll's margin of error. Obama won all three states in 2008, marking the first time Virginia voted for a Democratic president since 1964.

In Michigan and Wisconsin, Obama has also opened up a lead against his rival: A CNN poll puts him up eight points in Michigan (52 to 44 percent), and one from Marquette Law School has Obama leading Romney by 14 points in Wisconsin (54 to 40 percent). In August, Obama led Romney in Wisconsin by only three points.

New York Times pollster Nate Silver notes that Obama tends to do better against Romney in polls that include cell phones and use live interviewers instead of automated questions.  Silver writes that Obama has shown a clear lead in the 16 cell phone-inclusive polls of seven top battleground states taken since the convention. (The Fox, CNN and Marquette Law School polls all included cell phone respondents.)  On average, Obama has a 5.8 percentage point lead in surveys that include properly weighted cell phone (only) respondents.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted September 12-16, 2012 among 3,019 adults, including properly weighted cell phone only respondents, finds that Obama has an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters on which candidate gets their vote.  Not only does Obama enjoy a substantial lead on Pew's ballot preference question, he tops Romney in a number of other key categories, too.  Obama continues to be the more likable candidate by a substantial margin; his favorability rating has risen to 55% from 50% in late July, with only 42% now expressing an unfavorable view of him.

Pew Research Center leads other public polling organizations for polling expertise in our increasingly cell phone only society.

The number of Americans who have no landline phone service, who rely solely or mostly on cell phone service, has been growing for several years.  The cell phone only trend poses an increasing likelihood that public opinion polls conducted only or mostly to landline phone respondents have a conservative bias.

Analysis by Pew Research Center in 2010 shows support for Republican candidates is significantly higher in polls calling only or mostly landline respondents, than in dual frame surveys that combined properly weighted landline and cell phone respondent polling.

Pew Research found in 2010 up to a 10 point conservative bias gap between those who could be reached by landline and those who could be reached only by cell phone. Those who have gone cell phone only hold significantly more progressive / liberal political views than those who can still be polled by landline live or automated robo calls. This gap has likely widened over the last two years.

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TDWCC 6th Annual Fundraiser Dinner


Click here for details, to RSVP and to purchase tickets.

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Presidential Debate Watch, October 3rd

We invite you to get "fired up and ready to go" for the rest of the campaign Wednesday evening, October 3rd by attending a Debate Watch at Rugby House Pub, in north west Plano ~ 8604 Preston Rd., Suite 100, Plano, Tx 75024. (map)

The October 3rd debate between Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama is going to be an enormous event.   Some 200 million television viewers worldwide are expected to focus on the debate held at the University of Denver in Colorado.

The 90-minute October 3rd debate, moderated by Jim Lehrer, will be broken up into six 15-minute segments. Three of the segments will focus on the economy, with the remaining three segments focused on health care, governing and the role of government.

The Texas Democratic Women of Collin County, Democratic Network and Democratic Blog News have reserved the Rugby House Pub media room for debates on October 3rd, October 11th and October 22nd.  Watch for information about the October 16th debate watch location. Debate schedule posted below the more jump...

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Texas Judge Halts Faulty Dead Voter Purge

State Court Judge Tim Sulak in Austin temporarily barred the Secretary of State's office from ordering county election officials to purge voters from registration rolls, who are listed on the state's highly inaccurate dead voter report. Judge Tim Sulak agreed with plaintiffs that the purge this close to election day may violate state and federal election code.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed today by four very much alive Texas voters who were told they would be purged from the voter registration rolls as deceased. They asked Judge Sulak to stop the state from striking about 77,000 names from the rolls, arguing the plan violates the U.S. Voting Rights Act and Texas election code.

The secretary of state is “restrained from further instructing the counties to remove any other names from the voter rolls,” Judge Sulak said in his order. “Plaintiffs are entitled to temporary injunctive relief.” He also barred the secretary of state from ordering county officials to remove from the rolls any voters who failed to “timely comply” with the dead voter notice letters already mailed out.

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Pew: Obama Pulls Ahead with Strong Support

With an eight-point lead over Mitt Romney among likely voters, Barack Obama holds a bigger September lead than the last three candidates who went on to win in November, including Obama four years ago.Not only does Obama enjoy a substantial lead in the horserace, he tops Romney on a number of key dimensions.

His support is stronger than his rival’s, and is positive rather than negative. Mitt Romney’s backers are more ardent than they were pre-convention, but are still not as enthusiastic as Obama’s.

In elections since 1988, only Bill Clinton, in 1992 and 1996, entered the fall with a larger advantage.

Roughly half of Romney’s supporters say they are voting against Obama rather than for the Republican nominee. With the exception of Bill Clinton in 1992, candidates lacking mostly positive backing have lost in November.
 
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted September 12-16, 2012 among 3,019 adults including 2,424 registered voters, finds that Obama continues to be the more likable candidate by a substantial margin; his favorability rating has risen to 55% from 50% in late July, with 42% now expressing an unfavorable view of him.

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Voter Empowerment and Election Protection

by Deborah Angell-Smith

Join us for a Democratic Network Educational Forum discussion on Voter Empowerment and Election Protection, at 10:45am this Sat., September 22nd, at the John & Judy Gay Library in McKinney. A panel of local experts will explain what's supposed to happen - and NOT happen - in pivotal moments and key decisions that can make or break an individual vote or an election. (John & Judy Gay Library - 6861 El Dorado Parkway - Map)

Remember 2000? Hanging chads, voter suppression, overwhelming confusion and voting machines that may - or may not - have counted the votes as they were cast. There were critical failures at many key points along the way that resulted in a stolen election and eight long years of regret. 

Today, the King Street Patriots, Tea Party groups and conservative activists of all stripes are recruiting and training followers to "True the Vote" in ways that are clearly designed to intimidate legitimate voters and suppress votes from ethnic and religious minorities, young people and other targeted populations. On the heels of months of voter photo I.D. court fights, deputy voter registrar court fights, redistricting court fights, plus a last minute purge of dead voters who are not dead, confusion and errors in the election process are virtually guaranteed, and we still have concerns about those machines.

Saturday
September 22, 2012
22
Saturday's Democratic Network Forum will review the critical points in the election process that can make a big difference - to individual voters and candidates - from GOTV (Get-Out-The-Vote) programs to early and election day polling procedures, central count and ballot board processes. A panel of local experts will explain what's supposed to happen - and NOT happen - in pivotal moments and key decisions that can make or break an individual vote or an election.

Being informed about these intimidation tactics and failure points before the first votes are cast allows you to defend vulnerable voters and protect the interests of candidates you support. You'll able to share important information with your network and identify potential issues anywhere and everywhere you see them. As a follow-up, our Saturday, October 13th Forum will provide more in-depth information for poll watchers, greeters and others who concerned about protecting voters rights - and we will need LOTS of them. Start recruiting now, and ask them to attend these Forum presentations.

Both programs will be held at the John & Judy Gay Library in McKinney, 6861 El Dorado Parkway, just east of Alma. It's centrally located in the county and offers plenty of room, so please encourage Democratic friends and neighbors to come with you. Join us for coffee and breakfast goodies at 10:45 am and the program will get started at 11. We'll wrap up by 1 pm and those who care to continue the discussion can adjourn to a nearby restaurant for lunch.

Like most activists, the Democratic Network Forum will take a break in November and December. We encourage you to recuperate from the election, rest and spend time with your family and friends. We'll see you at various holiday parties and be back in January with informative programs to educate you about issues that affect us here in Collin County, and what we, as Democrats, can do to make things better.  Keep in mind that the Texas Legislature starts back up again in January, and local candidates will be filing for city council and school board elections, so we'll have plenty to talk about!

As always, we invite your input on topics, speakers, format and other options - and encourage you to get involved in growing our network. We'll have sign-up and comment sheets at the event, but if you aren't able to attend, please e-mail us at info@collindems.net, or call (469) 713-2031 to leave a voice message.


Guy Jones photoIn Memory of Guy Jones

It is with deep regret that we share the sad news that Guy Jones, a devoted former Democratic Precinct Chair for Precinct 120 in Allen, Election Judge, member of the Ballot Board and passionate activist passed away Saturday morning after a long struggle with Parkinson's Disease and cancer. He is survived by four adult children, including daughter Marty Jones who has also been active in our community.

Guy was a model Precinct Chair in the days before VAN and kept his own meticulous records about his voter contacts. Likewise, as an Election Judge and member of the Ballot Board he always knew the rules and followed them to the letter. A true gentleman, he was kind to everyone, regardless of their political affiliation, and had a delightful sense of humor. He was also devoted Texas Rangers fan and enjoyed watching games with his family and friends.

Services will held Thursday, 9/20 at 2 pm at Suncreek United Methodist Church at 1517 W. McDermott in Allen, appropriately, across from the Twin Creeks baseball fields. A short graveside service will follow at nearby Ridgeview Cemetery and mourners are invited back to the church for refreshments and fellowship.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Marty and the rest of the Jones family as they mourn the loss of their father and grandfather.



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Democratic Network Educational Forum

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Sen. Ellis: We Have A Voter Rolls Problem

In a letter to the editor of the The Statesman, Texas Senator Rodney Ellis (D-13) explains the dead voter purge problem that tens of thousands of live voters may face when they go to vote, starting on October 22, 2012.

In the past week, thousands of voters across Texas opened their mailboxes to learn that they might be dead. It was quite a shock to many of them.

This week, I began receiving calls from constituents who had received letters from Harris County voting officials stating the government had obtained information indicating they were deceased and, unless they responded to the letter within 30 days, their voter registration will be canceled. Thousands of such letters apparently have gone out across the state.

Here's the back story:

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Are You Ready For Voting To Start In Just 34 Days?

Early voting for the November 6, 2012 General Election starts in just 34 days, on Monday October 22, 2012. To vote early or on November 6th, you must be registered to vote or have mailed your new voter registration application to your county's election office by midnight October 9, 2012. November 6, 2012 General Election Information for Collin County:

Sample Registration Card for Collin Co., TXIf you did not received your new yellow 2012-13 voter registration card sometime during the last six months, you may not be registered to vote in the county where you currently reside. You must be registered to vote in the county where you currently reside in order to vote.

Even if you did receive your yellow 2012-13 voter registration card in April, your registration may have since been canceled, if you received, but did not respond to a letter from your county elections office. You should immediately check your registration status and take action to properly register, if you find you are not registered to vote in the county where you reside.

To check your Collin Co. registration status - click here. To check your registration status in any other Texas county - click here. If you find you are not registered to vote, you can find the Voter's Registration application by clicking here. (More details available at Your 2012 Collin Co. Voter Registration Card ~ NPR: Texans Bereaved Over 'Dead' Voter Purge ~ Ignore A Letter From The Elections Office And Get Purged From Voting.)

If you are not registered to vote in the county where you currently reside, but you recently moved from another Texas county where you are still registered to vote, it is illegal under Texas election law for you to return to your previous county of residence to cast a ballot. However, during early voting, and only during early voting, you may vote a "limited ballot" containing statewide and national candidates by appearing in person at the main election early voting location in the county where you currently reside.

Texas did not receive administrative or judicial preclearance by the Department of Justice or federal court for Senate Bill 14, the state's voter photo I.D. law, as explained in the Texas Secretary of State's August 30, 2012 press release. This means that the current law still applies to November 6, 2012 elections. To cast a ballot in person for the November 6th General Election during Early Voting or on Election Day, voters can present their voter registration card, or in lieu of a voter registration card, at least one of the following:

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

NPR: Texans Bereaved Over 'Dead' Voter Purge

Like all states, Texas regularly purges its rolls of voters who've died. Normally, this is a routine process where the Texas Secretary of State passes along to the counties a small list of voters who have recently died. County election officials then mail "death notification" letters to voters on the list. The letter tells voters they are presumed dead and have 30 days to notify election authorities, if they are, in fact, alive. Voters who have not died and fail to respond to the letter will have their voter registration canceled.

In the past, a small list of deceased voters is routinely generated as the Secretary of State's office matches new deaths recorded by the Texas Department of Vital Statistics with its statewide voter registration data base. A positive match of voters listed in the voter registration data base and people listed in other state and federal agency data bases can be made only when full social security number, first, last and middle names, plus name suffix, date of birth and address identity information completely match.


Listen to NPR's report on the Texas Secretary of State's program to purge "dead voters" - who aren't dead - from the voter registration data base.

The list of deceased voters the Secretary of State sent to county election officials this month, just two months before the election, includes the names of nearly 80,000 voters.

About 90 percent of those on the Secretary of State's deceased voters list are probably still living because a only very limited match of identity information was made for 90 percent of the names.

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why Obama Is Winning 57% of Registered Voters

By a margin of 57%-35%, registered voters blame George W. Bush and the Republican Party for the poor condition of the economy, according to a new CNN/ORC poll.

In his address at the Democratic National Convention President Clinton said, "In Tampa, [at the Republican National Convention] the Republican argument against the president’s re-election was actually pretty simple — pretty snappy. It went something like this: We left him a total mess. He hasn’t cleaned it up fast enough. So fire him and put us back in." The CNN/ORC poll shows that registered voters are not buying that Republican message.

When George W. Bush took office, the federal government was running an annual surplus of $86 billion. The Bush tax cuts have cost nearly $1.3 trillion in federal debt over 10 years. The legacy of President Bush's eight years in office, with much of that time supported by a Republican controlled congress, should be remembered as a grand and failed experiment of what happens when conservatives are in control of the government.

The failures of Bush's eight year administration cannot be chalked up to Bush alone. The $4 trillion IOU war in Iraq, the home mortgage market bubble, the collapsing economy, the Hurricane Katrina tragedy that befell New Orleans and trickle-down tax cuts (that never trickled down) were all failures of conservative ideology. Those failures are owned by every conservative in Congress who championed and happily rubber-stamped conservative legislation and the conservative philosophy of financial and banking system deregulation and tax cuts for billionaires.

The truly compelling story of the Bush decade is one that conservatives do not want you to remember – the rapid and dramatic failure of conservative government. America learned what life is like under a true conservative government. With near absolute power, conservatives pursued their fiscal and social agenda without compromise.

In a position of virtually unchecked power conservatives failed quickly and utterly at the most basic responsibilities of governing, leaving our nation weaker and deeply in debt, and our people less prosperous, less safe and less free. The Bush years may have been years of political and legislative victories for conservatives, but those years of political and legislative victories had disastrous and long lasting consequences for the nation.

And the American people do remember all those conservative failures.

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Record Partisan Gap in Views of Economic News

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Sept. 7-9, finds that views of economic news are far more positive than they were in August 2011, when 67% said economic news was mostly bad.

Just 15% of Democrats say recent economic news is mostly bad, down from 31% a month ago and among the lowest percentages over the last four years.

Six-in-ten Republicans (60%) say news about the economy is mostly bad, as do 36% of independents. Opinions among Republicans and independents are largely unchanged from a month ago.

Public perceptions of news about the job situation remain negative, but no more negative than during the past few months. About half (52%) say they are hearing mostly bad news about the job situation. The percentage hearing mostly bad news about jobs has been about at this level since June; in March just 38% said the news about jobs was mostly bad.

More than twice as many Republicans (75%) as Democrats (34%) say news about the job situation has been mostly bad. Democrats’ views of job news are less negative than last month, when 43% said the news was mostly bad. Opinions among Republicans (75% now mostly bad) and independents (now 54%) are largely unchanged over this period.

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True the Vote’s Spreading Campaign to Intimidate Minority Voters in 2012

As we approach the 2012 election, every indication is that we will see an unprecedented use of voter challenges in an effort to suppress minority voting. True the Vote is a tea party based organization that aims to recruit one million poll watchers around the country this November, to challenge minority voters under the color of protecting the electoral process against vote impersonation fraud — notwithstanding overwhelming factual evidence showing that in-person voting voter impersonation fraud is all but non-existent.

True the Vote representatives say they want to make the experience of voting “like driving [while black, through a white suburbia neighborhood,] and seeing the police following you.

Organization leaders are allegedly prepared to promote extralegal, but not necessarily illegal, measures to exploit election laws in several 2012 battleground states to challenge minority Democratic voters. (click on the map for details)

Bullies at the Ballot Box, a new report released jointly by Demos and Common Cause, reviews election laws of ten battleground states — Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia — that might be exploited to suppress the vote.

Thirty-nine states allow private citizens to challenge voters at the polls. Of the thirty-nine states where anyone can challenge voters' eligibility to vote inside polling places, only fifteen of them require the challengers to prove that the person they’re challenging isn’t an eligible voter. Which means that in twenty-four states poll watchers can wage all kinds of frivolous extralegal, but not necessarily illegal, mischief to exploit election laws, with accusations — that a voter is an “illegal alien,” or that they are using a dead person’s identity to vote — to burden if not intimidate voters and slow traffic flow through buy polling places.

In states with "voter challenge" laws, the poll watcher's intended roll to guarantee fair elections can be abused and used for racial profiling for no other reason than having a Latino surname or dark skin color. In those states, people can make up a reason to challenge a voter’s rights without any evidence backing them up, and do so with impunity. A new report from the Brennan Center for Justice, “Voter Challengers” details that troublesome history while spelling out just how problematic such poll-watching activities can be, especially when administered by hyper-partisan and racially insensitive groups like True the Vote.

True the Vote, and their many allies, often cite voter fraud as the reason for militarizing the polls, but countless studies have shown that their claims of massive in-person voting voter fraud are nothing more than lies, as detailed in this News 21 investigation. That creates a real danger that voters and election officials will face misguided and overzealous True the Vote poll greeter and poll watcher volunteers, who will take the law into their own hands to target minority voters and election officials — outside and inside polling places.

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Obama or Romney: A Key Civil and Women's Rights Supreme Court Decision

by Michael Handley

While there are many issues that should be considered when casting a vote for a presidential candidate, perhaps the most important issue is the Supreme Court. A president's term lasts for a maximum of eight years; a Supreme Court justice's term can span more than 30 years.

Three Supreme Court justices — Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia and Anthony Kennedy — will reach their 80s during the next presidential administration. Whoever wins in November will likely have the opportunity to appoint at least one and possibly up to three justices. And remember, it is the U.S. Senate that confirms the president's court appointments. So think about that before you skip the U.S. Senate ballot position, when casting your vote.

The average tenure of a Supreme Court justice today is 25 to 35 years — spanning more than six presidential terms. If the newest justice, Elena Kagan, serves for all of her current life expectancy, she will remain on the court until 2045. If extreme conservatives replace Justice Ginsburg and Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court will have a solid 6-3 conservative to extremely conservative court advantage over progressive justices.

Women in particularly should care whether Obama or Romney make lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court. Your right of privacy to make your own health care and family planning choices is at stake. If Romney wins, he will certainly nominate extremely conservative justices to appeal to the Tea Party elements within his party. President Romney would appoint conservative justices who support Justice Scalia's position that women have no constitutional right of privacy to choose to use contraception or choose to have an abortion, even when her life is at risk from a pregnancy.

And the constitutionally of the Voting Rights Act at the hands of a solid 6-3 conservative to extreme conservative Supreme Court? Forget about it! How about the rights of individual citizens compared to "corporations are people, too," rights? No contest. And that old Brown v. Board of Education court decision? Welcome back "separate but equal."

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision turned life upside down in this country as it outlawed segregation in public schools and provided a road map for the civil rights assault on other aspects of the racist status quo. The 1965 Griswold v. Connecticut decision that women have a constitutional right of privacy to choose to learn about and use contraception is a fundamental cornerstone of women's rights.

The decision on whether the bloody battles over social, reproductive and civil rights, fought more than a half century ago, are again thrust upon us hang on this election. President Romney would without doubt appoint Supreme Court Justices who would turn back the clock to 1954!

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ignore A Letter From The Elections Office And Get Purged From Voting

by Michael Handley

I have received a few emails and calls from friends asking my opinion about letters they or a family member recently received from the county election registrar indicating the office had received information that they were deceased. The letter said that [if they are alive,] they should immediately contact the election office, otherwise they will be purged from the voter registration data base. Thankfully, none of my friends had died or suffered a death in the family.

Statewide, more than 1.5 million voter records could be suspended and eventually purged if people fail to vote or update their voter registration records for two consecutive federal elections: One out of every 10 Texas voters' registration is currently suspended. Among voters under 30, the figure is about one in five. More than 300,000 valid voters were notified they could be removed from Texas rolls from November 2008 to November 2010 because they were mistaken for someone else who moved or died and failed to receive or respond to generic election office form letters.

State and federal HAVA laws require the nation's voter rolls be regularly reviewed and cleaned to remove duplicates and eliminate voters who move or die. This clean up cycle occurs every three months in Texas. But across Texas, such "removals" rely on outdated computer programs, faulty procedures and voter responses to generic form letters, often resulting in the wrong people being sent election status inquiry letters, including new homeowners, college students, Texans who work abroad and folks with common names.

The Secretary of State's office says it contacts counties to purge voters only when there is a "strong match" - such as full name, Social Security number and/or date of birth - between a U.S Post Office, Vital Records Dept. or other agency data feed record and an existing voter registration record. However, each year thousands of voters receive letters to verify voter information or be cancelled only because they share the same first name, last name and middle initial as a voter who died or was convicted of a crime.

Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade, recently sent lists of possible deceased voters to county elections administrators, totaling almost 77,000 names. The lists contain both “strong matches” and “weak matches” between the Social Security Administration's or Bureau of Vital Statistics' death records and the the Secretary of State's statewide TEAM data base of registered voters. Less than 9,000 of the nearly 77,000 names on list were considered strong record matches. Record matches where social security numbers and some combination of first, last and middle names, plus name suffix, date of birth and possibly other information match, are considered “strong record matches.” "Weak record matches" are where first and last names, plus middle name or initial and some other piece of information, like last Soc. Sec. number digits or county, match.

County election officials across Texas have been mailing "death notification" letters to nearly 80,000 voters on the list. The letters tells voters that they are presumed dead and have 30 days to notify election authorities, if they are alive. Voters who fail to respond will have their registration canceled.

Houston Chronicle - Monday, September 10, 2012:

Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector Don Sumners said Monday that he would not purge from the voter roll before the November election any of the 9,018 citizens who received letters from his office in recent days notifying them that they may be dead and are at risk of having their registrations canceled. However, a spokesman for the Texas secretary of state, the office that generated the statewide list of about 80,000 voters, said Sumners’ move contradicts legislative directives. ”Our office has federal and state requirements to maintain an accurate and secure voter registration list. If any of those people are deceased, the law requires that they be removed from the voter registration list ,” Rich Parsons said. “Mr. Sumners’ decision would prevent that.” The letters, many of which were delivered Friday and Saturday, asked recipients to verify within 30 days that they are alive or be cut from the roll.

Sumners, who also is the county’s voter registrar, said conversations with the Secretary of State’s Office convinced him the list of possible dead was too unreliable to act on until after the Nov. 6 election. ”We’re not even going to process any of the cancellations until after the election,” Sumners said. “Because we’ve gotten such a response from people that say that they are still alive.”

Full Article: Voter purge canceled in wake of faulty death data – Houston Chronicle.

If you have not already received your new yellow 2012-13 voter registration card, you may not be registered to vote in the county where you currently reside. You should immediately check your registration status and take action to properly register, if you find you are not registered to vote in the county where you reside. To check your Collin Co. registration status - click here. To check your registration status in another Texas county - click here. If you find you are not registered to vote, you can find the Voter's Registration application by clicking here.

More details available at Your 2012 Collin Co. Voter Registration Card.

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The Courage Of United Flight 93 Passengers And Crew

by Michael Handley

The 40 passengers and crew who fought back against their hijackers aboard United Flight 93 on September 11, 2001 performed a courageous act. The hijackers of Flight 93 intended to crash the plane in Washington DC, likely the Capitol Building or the White House, but never made it because of the determination and valor of the passengers and crew.

President Bill Clinton said at a 2011 ceremony dedicating the first phase of a memorial at the nation's newest national park near Shanksville, Pa., where Flight 93 crashed, "With almost no time to decide, they gave the entire country an incalculable gift. They saved the capitol from attack. They saved God knows how many lives. They saved the terrorists from claiming the symbolic victory of smashing the center of American government. And they did it as citizens."

Ed Felt, my colleague at the Internet infrastructure start up software company BEA Systems, was one of the passengers on Flight 93 that day. Ed was traveling on Flight 93 from BEA's east coast office to the company's headquarters office in San Jose, CA - a flight other BEA employees, and I, frequented.  Ed was one of the top five software engineers at our billion-dollar start up company having just received a U.S. patent in August 2001 for software he designed for BEA.

Flight 93 became an American profile in courage on that day that claimed almost 5,000 lives, toppled buildings that stood like a twin Colossus on the New York shore, took down one side of the Pentagon, and ushered in two wars.

What made Flight 93 different was a decision reached somewhere over the skies of Western Pennsylvania, after passengers learned on cell phones that their hijackers planned to crash their Boeing 757 plane into a building as the fourth in a quartet of suicide attacks.
Here is the story of Ed and the other 39 passengers and crew members of United Flight 93.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Democratic Convention Wrap Up

by Inga VanWagoner, Democratic National Convention Delegate from SD8

Fired Up! Ready to Go! The Texas delegation is headed home, armed with this go to phrase that embodied the final night of the DNC. We experienced a night of high energy speakers, Hollywood A-listers and music stars as diverse as the national delegation gathered to support President Obama. And most inspiring of all, we heard President Obama's acceptance speech!

The DNC reconvened with Marc Anthony singing the National Anthem and James Taylor performed the classic "Going to Carolina" prompting an arena wide sing along. Shortly after, Representatives Barney Frank, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragiosa addressed the crowd. Wasserman Schultz gave tearful testimony as a survivor of breast cancer and the significance of the Affordable Healthcare Act.

Beau Biden, Attorney General of Delaware made the hearty motion to nominate his father, Vice President Joe Biden, to which the delegation gave a boisterous second and verbal vote to pass the motion. Actresses Kerry Washington and Scarlett Johansson followed a Rock the Vote style showing by the Foo Fighters.

Veterans like myself noted the failure to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the opening of the night's agenda. We were amazed at the appearance of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords assisted by Debbie Wasserman Schultz to center stage. Giffords led the arena in a joyful recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, which brought many to tears. Also featured were Caroline Kennedy, native Texan actress Eva Longoria, Senator John Kerry and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, whose rowdy no holds barred speech whipped the crowd into a frenzied Democratic fervor.

Dr. Jill Biden introduced Vice President Joe Biden, who accepted the nomination for VP. And of course the surprise second appearance of the First Lady Michelle Obama brought another chant of "We love Michelle" as she introduced our President Barrack Obama. The crowd shifted to chants of "Four More Years" as he stood, taking in the view of assembled supporters. We stood more than we sat for the duration of his speech as the President listed the numerous points of success in the last four years. A humble moment was felt when Obama quoted Abraham Lincoln saying "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go,” promising to continue to do the work to lead our country.

We returned to the host hotel enthralled and emboldened to return home fired up and ready to go, the mantra of Obama supporter Edith Childs. Even as I stand waiting to board my flight home, chants in the airport of Yes We Can abound.

Editor's note: The picture right is of a group of about 60 people gathered for a Convention Watch Celebration at Rugby House Pub, in north west Plano, to hear President Obama's acceptance speech.

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2012 Democratic National Convention On Thursday


President Barack Obama at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

Vice President Joe Biden at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

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Federal Court Stays Injuction That Blocked Restrictive Voter Registrar Laws

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans ruled 2-1 on Thursday to stay an injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa early last month that blocked enforcement of parts of Texas' new deputy voter registrar laws.

Judge Costa in Galveston had blocked the state from enforcing the new laws rules until their legality can be determined in a court hearing scheduled for next month. But yesterday's 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling allows Texas to enforce new deputy voter registrar laws passed by the 2011 Texas Legislature. Those laws limit who can hand out voter registration cards and who can collect completed registration forms:

  1. No one can work in voter registration drives who doesn’t live in Texas;
  2. No one can work outside any one particular county;
  3. Payment to registration drive workers must be an hourly wage and compensation cannot be based on the worker’s productivity;
  4. No completed voter registration forms can be photocopied by the registration drive workers or the registration drive organization; and
  5. All completed voter registrations must be delivered to county elections officials in person by the deputy registrar.

Texas Volunteer Deputy Registrar Guide on the Texas Secretary of State website.

Sample Registration Card for Collin Co., TX

The last day to register to vote in the November 6, 2012 General Election is Tuesday October 9, 2012.

If you have not already received your new yellow 2012-13 voter registration card, you may not be registered to vote in the county where you currently reside.

You should immediately check your registration status and take action to properly register, if you find you are not registered to vote in the county where you reside.

To check your Collin Co. registration status - click here. To check your registration status in another Texas county - click here. If you find you are not registered to vote, you can find the Voter's Registration application by clicking here.

More details available at Your 2012 Collin Co. Voter Registration Card.

Early voting for the Nov. 6, 2012 General Election will run from Monday, Oct 22, 2012 to Friday, Nov 2, 2012 at your usual county early polling locations.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

2012 Democratic National Convention On Wednesday


President Bill Clinton at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

Elizabeth Warren at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

Cecile Richards at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

Sandra Fluke at the 2012 Democratic National Convention

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Notes From The Democratic National Convention, Tuesday

By Inga VanWagoner, Democratic National Convention Delegate from SD8 ~ pictures by Cindi Koehn, Democratic National Convention Volunteer & SD30 Committeewoman

By Monday September 3rd the Texas Delegation had arrived in arrived Charlotte North Carolina! Despite some travel delays and occasional rain showers courtesy of Hurricane Isaac, we received a warm and enthusiastic welcome from the DNC volunteers. Shortly after landing, we were settled on buses and en route to the Texas Delegation host hotel, Great Wolf Lodge.

Charlotte is on full display this week with art, banners and billboards touting the DNC.

There is a palpable energy in the city as the festivities get underway. This evening's activity for Texas delegates included a welcome reception at the Discovery Place, an interactive science museum noted as one of the nation's best.

Other welcome events were held across the city at 12 notable Charlotte venues including the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where Mayor Anthony Foxx addressed delegates and guests.

Special thanks to Democratic National Committeeman Glen Maxey for diligently posting schedules and updates for us!

Monday morning, your SD8 delegates were up early, checking in to sign our daily credentials and selecting caucuses to attend. Then came uplifting and stirring speeches were delivered by Rev. Jesse Jackson in the African American caucus and Christine Pelosi in the Veterans and Military Families caucus.

We had numerous opportunities to hear from our dynamic DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. I personally was able to meet the oldest delegate in attendance, Mr. Steven Sherman, a decorated disabled WWI veteran, age 91.

A conference call was held for all national delegates, nearly 6,000 in total, more delegates than any national convention in history. Our topic of conversation--answering the question "are we better off today than we were four years ago." Our reply--a resounding "YES!"

Monday evening wrapped with a Texas delegation beach themed party in our host hotel and excited conversations about the convention's call to order.

TDP Chairman Gilberto Hinajosa spoke at Tuesday's delegation breakfast as we prepared to sign our names--one by one--to nominate President Obama to four more years!

The Women's Caucus was an impressive and inspiring collection of voices for the continued advancement of women. Actress Ashley Judd and correspondent Donna Brazille rallied us on after a special recognition of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.

The afternoon led up to the gavel in by DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz and it began......a evening of spirited, memorable speakers.

Cheers erupted time and time again at the remarks of Mayor Corey Booker of New Jersey, Assistant Secretary Tammy Duckworth and our own San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro. Cheers from our Texas delegation brought Castro's speeches to a pause, as did chants of "USA" and "Four More Years."

The perfect ending to the night was the shining moment of First Lady Michelle Obama. Her emotionally stirring words of family, faith and the foundation she and President Obama built for their own family.

The adoration and respect of Mrs. Obama was never more evident as she waited for the applause and chants of "We love Michelle," to settle. Mrs. Obama led the charge to work these next 7 weeks to work for the re-election of President Barack Obama.

Tuesday evening, the mass of delegates filtered out of Time Warner Arena reveling in the high points of the night's message of "Moving Forward, Not Back."

After stopping at the MSNBC outdoor broadcast to gear DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz review the evening, we, the Texas delegates were gathered again at Whiskey River Restaurant and rehashed our favorite sound bites of the night before turning in for the night.


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2012 Democratic National Convention On Tuesday


First Lady Michelle Obama's Remarks
2012 Democratic National Convention


Mayor JuliƔn Castro's Keynote Address
2012 Democratic National Convention

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Celebrate President Obama's Acceptance Speech

by Deborah Angell-Smith

We invite you to get "fired up and ready to go" for the rest of the campaign Thursday evening, September 6th at a Convention Watch Celebration at Rugby House Pub, in north west Plano, to hear President Obama's acceptance speech. (map)

The Democratic National Convention is getting started, and after a week of wild Republican nonsense last week, it's going to be wonderful to hear truthful speeches from our candidates and supporters.

The pinnacle of the convention will be Thursday night, when President Barack Obama gives his acceptance speech. You'll want to be part of a cheering crowd of Democrats to share the energy and enthusiasm of what is sure to be one of the highlights of this campaign.

We invite you to get "fired up and ready to go" for the rest of the campaign Thursday evening, September 6th at a Convention Watch Celebration at The Rugby House in north west Plano, near Preston and 121. Come whenever you like, beginning as early as 6, but keep in mind that President Obama will speak sometime in the 9:00 hour, so be sure to arrive in plenty of time so you have time to greet everyone, order and eat before the President speaks. The Rugby House has a diverse menu of excellent food at reasonable prices, and Happy Hour specials are extended till closing Thursday night.

Thursday September 6, 2012
6

Democratic National Convention Watch Celebration

Rugby House Pub
8604 Preston Rd., Suite 100, Plano 75024
(East side of Preston Rd & South of Hwy 121)

Thursday, Sept. 6,
6:00pm - 10:30pm

Thanks to Texas Democratic Women Collin County and Democratic Blog News for co-hosting this event, and individuals from Drinking Liberally in Plano and McKinney for helping to promote it. Similar events are being held at other locations, including private homes and at least one other restaurant in downtown Plano, Vickery Park. You can find details about all of the Convention Watch, phone banking and other events supporting the Obama campaign at www.BarackObama.com.

Also, be sure to mark your calendars for our next Democratic Network Forum, Saturday morning, September 22nd, when we'll have a program on Voter Empowerment and Election Protection at the John & Judy Gay Library in south central McKinney. We'll send out more information soon, but hope you'll plan to attend and bring some Democratic friends with you.

The Democratic Network offers opportunities for current and future Democratic activists to learn about the issues that affect us here in Collin County, and what we, as Democrats, can do to make things better. We invite your input on topics, speakers, format and other options - and encourage you to get involved in growing our network. If you'd like to add Democrats you know to our distribution list, please let us know.

You can email us at info@collindems.net, or call (469) 713-2031 to leave a voice message.


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Democratic Network Educational Forum

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Monday, September 3, 2012

The Labor Union Movement in America

Labor unions are responsible for the many benefits of our jobs that we enjoy today. Even if you only work part time in the worst job possible, you still enjoy at least some of the fruits that labor has fought for. Here are 20 of them.

  1. Minimum Wage: Without federally mandated minimum wage, we’d still be working for pennies.
  2. Child Labor Laws: Without these laws, children would be hired as cheap labor.
  3. Paid Vacations: Did you go on a cruise this year? Perhaps to the Grand Canyon or another country? Thank a union.
  4. Employer Health Care, Dental, and Vision Insurance: If you have a medical, dental, or vision care plan through your employer, your a lucky person. All because of organized labor.
  5. Pensions: If you were able to retire at 65 and get pension checks in the mail, congratulations, you’re living proof that unions work.
  6. Safety Conditions: Do you work at a potentially hazardous job but have safety regulations in place to protect you? If so, unions are responsible for your continued safety.
  7. Collective Bargaining: Just having the right to negotiate with your employer is a benefit guaranteed by a union.
  8. Weekends: If you have weekends off to spend with your families, a labor union is responsible for giving you that time off.
  9. Sick Leave: Did you get to use a work provided sick day to get well? Unions fought for that too.
  10. Overtime: Are you able to work overtime and get paid even more for it? Thank a union
  11. 8 Hour Work Day: Without unions, we’d all be working non-stop 24/7. Because of unions you’re able to go home and spend some time at home with family and friends before you catch 6-8 hours of sleep.
  12. 40 Hour Work Week: Just like number 11, without unions, we’d never have a day off and work would encompass our entire life.
  13. Unemployment Benefits: Are you unemployed but receive unemployment benefits to care for your family until you find another job? One word. Unions.
  14. Wrongful Termination Laws: Because of unions, you can’t be fired for stupid reasons, like the color of your skin or because you make too much money.
  15. Pay Raises: Unions are responsible for your ability to ask for and receive pay raises.
  16. Holiday Pay: Do you at least get some holidays off? If so, thank a union.
  17. Pregnancy and Parental Leave: In some countries, women give birth on the job and have to go back to work the next day. Corporations would make women do the same thing here if not for the determination of a union.
  18. The Right To Strike: We have the right to organize and protest against the government. A union fought for your right to organize and strike against your employer.
  19. Equal Pay For Women: Women finally get equal pay for equal work. Thank a union.
  20. Laws Ending Sweatshops: Because of unions, sweatshops, which employ cheap labor with harsh conditions, are illegal.

Song by singer/songwriter Turner R. Corn. Turner is a native Hoosier and proud union member of Laborers Local 795 in New Albany, Indiana.

Every right that a worker has in the workplace is all because a union fought hard to get it. As Republicans continue to wipe out unions and weaken them, they also weaken us and our ability to fight back against unfair business practices. We are at risk of losing all the things that unions fought long and hard to secure. Even our jobs are at risk. Because of unions, many of the jobs Americans still hold, have not been outsourced overseas. Unions protect jobs in America and where there are unions, there are jobs.

Because the private sector has largely wiped out unions, big corporations are able to lay off American workers and give those jobs to cheap labor overseas. If you want a job, or want to keep yours, organize or join a union and fight for your right to work. Unions fight for the American worker, therefore they fight for us.

Anyone who says that unions are un-American only wants to get rid of the above list so that they can make ridiculous profits off the backs off a cheap labor workforce. If you support American workers, American jobs, and the continued prosperity of the American people, support labor unions.

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

TDP Chairman Hinojosa And 5th Court of Appeals Candidates

by Michael Handley

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa spoke at the party's reception for 5th District Court of Appeals Democratic candidates last Monday. Democrats from the Fifth Court of Appeals District (Dallas, Collin, Grayson, Hunt, Rockwall and Kaufman counties) also heard comments from the five Democratic Fifth Court of Appeals candidates.


Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa
Plano, Tx, ~ Monday, August 27, 2012

The Texas District Courts of Appeals are distributed in fourteen districts around the state of Texas.

The Courts of Appeal have intermediate appellate jurisdiction in both civil and criminal cases appealed from district or county courts.

Like the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals, Justices of the Texas Courts of Appeals are elected to six-year terms by general election.

The Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas at Dallas includes one Chief Justice and twelve Justices. No Democrats currently sit on Fifth Court of Appeals.

Comments from the five Democratic Candidates running for the 5th Court of Appeals:

David Hanshen for 5th Court of Appeals Place 9 - "Why are the courts of appeals important? Every case out of the Collin County Court House that gets appealed - probate, family, civil and criminal, every case - ends up in the 5th Court of Appeals. Collin County is not the battle ground [for this election,] Collin County is the key. I ran for the 5th Court of Appeals four years ago. I got within two percent [of winning that election.] You can deliver an extra two percent - it's Collin County that is the key. I remember Dallas in 2001 when I ran the first time for Judge; I thought I was the only Democrat. There were three Ann Richards signs in my neighborhood, that was it. In 2006 we came back and cleaned [Republicans] out of the court house and we held it in 2008 and 2010, again. You can do that in Collin County! The Supreme Court candidate four years ago nearly won. There are the Democratic votes here in Collin County to elect Democrats to the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals!"

Larry Praeger for 5th of Court Appeals Place 12 - "When you boil this race down, there are a couple of things you really need to know. In the last presidential cycle the court of appeals candidates in 2008 got nearly 48 percent of the vote. People ask me all the time, what does the court of appeals do? It does basically two things: it tells you if you've had a fair trial and it protects your individual liberties. Lets talk about our individual liberties. The importance of the power of these justices can not be over emphasized. When laws that infringe on individual liberties come out of the legislature are challenged in the court system, it's going to the Court of Appeals first, before it goes to any federal court. So, if you are wondering who is ruling on the constitutionality of those laws, its your appellate justices. I would urge you to go to the Internet and look up the current justices and look at the groups who endorse them and that will give you a clue where they see things."

Tonya Holt for 5th Court of Appeals Place 11 - "It is a pleasure and honor to be here to tell you we are going to do it, we are going to win. We need all of you to get out the vote, and when you go out to vote, take a few people with you. My opponent was appointed by Rick Perry in 2002 and in 2003 Rick Perry appointed his sister. They are so out of order and so out of balance and plain wrong. We can't allow that to continue. You know, people talk about [elections] 2014 and 2016 - now I'm talking about wining in 2012. We need to get it done now! Tomorrow will take care of itself, but we have to deal with today while we're facing it. ... I am a Democrat. I am a Democratic because it is the party of inclusion - everyone is welcome, everyone's rights matter and that is important to me. I fought for civil rights - I believe in civil rights. We can't allow the Republicans in their backward thinking to take away what we fought so hard for."

Penny Phillips for 5th Court of Appeals Place 5 - "Every vote matters! The more that you all get people out to vote in 2012, and vote [for candidates] down ballot, the better chance that we can win on November 7th. So I can't emphasize how important it is for you to help get out the vote. This court - the Court of Appeals - is so important. There was a study that came out in April of this year from the University of Houston Law Review that shows how this court ruled, and how all the Courts of Appeals have ruled. What that study found was that if you, an average citizen, are a plaintiff - if you're the individual person who got wronged by a corporation - and you go through the trial process and win at trial, but that ruling is appealed, then one out of two times - 50 percent of the time - your trial win will be overturned on appeal. On the other hand, when corporations win cases at trial, their wins are only overturned 25 percent of the time across fourteen Courts of Appeals in Texas. And for the corporation win cases that are appealed to the 5th Court of Appeals, only get overturned 14 percent of the time - and those include personal injury cases and deceptive trade practices cases. All of that is to say that we do need balance on this court and it does matter who your justices are who are elected to the appeals court because these cases affect peoples' lives and well being.


Pictures taken at the Reception

Courts of Appeals are where the rubber hits the road for protecting the individual rights that we fight so hard to protect. It's 2012, not 1912, and we are coming up on the 100th anniversary of women having the right to vote in 2020 - we haven't even had the right for a 100 years yet. I want to keep all the rights that we as individual citizens and we as women fought so hard to win and continue to fight so hard to protect."

Dan Wood for 5th of Court Appeals Place 2 - "There hasn't been a Democrat on the 5th Court of Appeals since the 1990's when Republicans took over every seat. Why does that make a difference? You need a diversity of views at the table when these appellate decisions are made on the cases that affect you directly."

In the 2012 General Election five Democratic Candidates are running for the 5th Court of Appeals:

  • Tonya Holt for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 11
  • Penny Phillips for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 5
  • Larry Praeger for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 12
  • David Hanshen for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 9
  • Dan Wood for 5th District Court of Appeals Place 2
Both civil and criminal appeals are typically heard by a panel of three justices, unless in a particular case "en banc" hearing is ordered, in which instance all the justices of that Court hear and consider the case. (Graphical Guide to the Court System of Texas) (map)

Other Democratic candidates who spoke at the reception include:

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