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04.30.12.TX.SoS.Meeting

04.30.12.TX.SoS.Meeting

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Published by: jbjd on Apr 30, 2012
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02/01/2013

 
 
 April 30, 2012Mr. Keith Ingram, Director of ElectionsOffice of the Secretary of State of TexasP.O. Box 12060 Austin, TX 78711-2060
SUBJECT: PROPOSAL TO RECTIFY VOTER INFORMATION DEFICIT IN TIME FOR THE 2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Dear Mr. Ingram:I came here to address the huge chasm that exists between the information now provided to voters by the office of the Secretary of State of Texas; and the information required by these same voters which would enable each of us to cast a truly informed vote in theupcoming Presidential election. Consistent with statements contained in the Compact With Texans posted on the Secretary's officialweb site; voters count on the Office not only to be the "reliable" repository of state records; but also to provide "accurate" and "timely"access to such records as are necessary to ensure the "uniformity and integrity in the conduct of elections statewide." Throughout thisdiscussion, I will identify not only specific examples pointing to my findings,
the Secretary’s
promises to fully inform the voters are notbeing met; but also those measures which could be implemented immediately, "in compliance with [existing] laws and rules," to closethis voter information deficit.The problems with the nexus between information currently provided by the Office; and the resulting
‘mis
informed
status of the voters;is best illustrated by sketching out several scenarios relating to voters' understanding of the eligibility of Presidential candidates for office. Any discussion as to what information makes a voter 'informed' in a Presidential election must begin with this premise: votersoverwhelmingly cast their votes for the Presidential nominee with a certainty as to whether that candidate is constitutionally eligible for the job. The information currently available from
the Secretary’s office
cannot 'inform' that decision. Indeed, as you will see, when itcomes to the federal qualification of party Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates for office; the Secretary, however unwittingly,has materially contributed to keeping voters misinformed.Voters began alerting the Secretary to concerns about the Presidential eligibility process nearly 4 years ago now, at around the time of the 2008 general election, which concerns remain largely tied to a misinterpretation of Texas Election Statutes, §192.031, PartyCandidate's Entitlement to Place on Ballot. Simply, we assumed that by authorizing the names of the part
ies’
nominees to be printed onthe general election ballot; the Secretary had found that all 4 conditions predicate to ballot entitlement spelled out in the law had beensatisfied, including
“the nominees possess the qualifications for those offices prescribed by federal law.”
 .On the basis of this faulty understanding, that is, the Secretary places the names of party candidates on the ballot having ratified their 
entitlement 
to appear; voters petitioned the Office to reveal the documentary basis for ratification, only to be told, the legal responsibilityfor federal eligibility determination is not vested with the state. No; this determination is the responsibility of the political party. Angeredat learning the state
put candidates on the ballot without verifying the party’s
qualification determination, voters went to the parties and,
using the state’s open
records law, requested evidence to support a qualification determination. Years later, we got our answer: theparties gave the Secretary the names of those candidates who had submitted applications for the Presidential primary ballot, to
them
.Based on documentation we had previously obtained; we already knew, to get their Presidential candidates on the general electionballot, the parties only submit a Certification of Nomination. Now, having reviewed th
e candidates’
primary ballot applications, we knew,the parties conduct no federal qualification determination before
that 
election. (True, age and residency requirements can ripen
after 
 the primary; but natural born citizenship cannot be acquired
retroactively 
, even by the time of the general election!) In other words, byobtaining these primary applications we confirmed that neither the Secretary nor the parties make a §192.031 eligibility determination.
In fact, the clear language of §192.031 requires neither the political parties nor the state to make this federal eligibilitydetermination; it only requires the candidate for President to be federally qualified
in order to trigger ballot entitlement 
.
 Therefore, absent verification from
anyone
that the candidate meets federal qualifications;
there is
 
no such entitlement! 
Of course,
understand that, just because the names of party candidates fail to qualify for entitlement to the ballot under this section of the law;does not mean the Secretary cannot place those names on the ballot, anyway, through a lawful exercise of her discretion.Still, to maintain uniformity; the Secretary can only put party candidates on the ballot through this exercise in discretion by
assuming 
 the parties
verified the candidate’s federal qualifica
tion. Because even though Texas law
doesn’t
require
Presidential candidates to be

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1 hundred reads
BJ Melton added this note
as important as it is, she could care lesss
BJ Melton added this note
It is obvious our SoS is totally ignorant of of the legal qualifing of candidates for President. It is also obvious that this matter, as iooortant as

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