Today or tomorrow, the new Governor is going to call for the runoff dates in several “emergency” special election runoffs going on in central Texas.
Watch for a notice, but get ready for early voting that COULD start within 1 week, y’all!
Did you see this article in the Statesman about why we’re so upset about the handling of this election in Bastrop County?
Last night in Giddings we made an informal announcement of our support for Brent Golemon in the runoff to be the new State Representative in HD-17 (Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes and Lee counties). Brent has filled out, affirmatively, our survey on water and we hope you get a chance to meet him at upcoming events, so you can decide yourself if he is worthy of your support.
Pardon us, but with all this “emergency election” madness there were typos in the last email. To clarfy:
TONIGHT, Wednesday, Jan. 21st, 7 pm, Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Monthly Meeting, Bastrop City Hall, 1131 Chestnut. Agenda includes LCRA request to amend their permit special conditions provisions. Show up!
TOMORROW NIGHT, Thursday, January 22, 6:30 pm, Independent Texans meeting in Lexington, Woodson Community Center. Brent Golemon will be attending. See attached flier.
We have just added an important event this FRIDAY evening in Paige, at 6:30 pm to be held at the Paige Community Center on Highway 290 (address: 107 S. Main. Paige).
MOST IMPORTANT: No matter who you are voting for or where you live in Texas, you better come to this!
The Annual Meeting of the League of Independent Voters of Texas this Saturday in Bastrop is designed to get us all prepared for the legislative session. We ALL need to brace for the attacks on our local control, our water rights and the overarching influence of the (big) business lobbies: Click here for the agenda, Click here to register, click here.
Whether we have a chance at protecting our local control is now up to you. Bastrop County officials have — so far — made plain that they will engage in voter suppression for which a favored candidate will benefit. It doesn’t get any worse than this — at least in the free world nor anywhere else in Texas.
Don’t let them get away with it!
ALL TEXANS – We hope to see you (and please reserve your seats now!) at this event planned for the legislative session, aptly entitled, “Building the Rural-Urban Coalition for Local Control” at the very moment our new Governor, Greg Abbott, seems to have a problem with local control. This first annual meeting of the new non-profit membership association for Texas independent voters — the League of Independent Voters of Texas – was rescheduled from last November due to bad weather in Wimberley. We have an incredible line up of speakers, who are rarely ever in the same place at the same time. Please reserve your seat now so we can plan lunch!
LEE COUNTY TUESDAY & THURSDAY NIGHT: Tomorrow night TUESDAY, January 20, we will be in Giddings at 6:30 at the Downtown Restaurant. THURSDAY night, Jan. 22, we’ll be in Lexington. See the flier to the right, click on it, print it out and share it please. We’re also scheduling these meetings in Paige and Dime Box to talk about the runoff election, with a VERY Special Guest we’re about to endorse!
Wednesday night, January 21, we will be at the Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District meeting at Bastrop City Hall. LCRA is back again so come on down at 7 pm.
We’re looking forward to seeing you.
If you can’t make ANY of these events, please join us for a social event and happy hour over at Bassano’s Restaurant on Saturday at 4 pm.
More news is a’ coming!
The Bastrop Advertisers says “Independent candidate Linda Curtis, who came in third in last week’s special called election for District 17 House of Representatives recently vacated by Tim Kleinschmidt, made pointed statements against Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape at the Bastrop County Commissioners Court meeting Jan. 12, accusing him of ethical violations in trying to influence the outcome of the election.”
The article goes on to say “She has filed a complaint with the state regarding Pape’s alleged misconduct. In her statement during the citizen’s comments portion of the meeting, Curtis said that Pape violated the Code of Judicial Conduct by endorsing one of her opposing candidates, John Cyrier, on a paid political ad flier mailed out the week of the election, a claim Pape denies. “I deny that,” said Pape, aware of the restrictions on judges regarding endorsements. “I didn’t intend for it to be an endorsement. I didn’t authorize it to be an endorsement.”
The article continues “Pape said that he is ethically allowed to make statements of fact for any candidate, which was his intent for Cyrier, and would do so for any candidate upon request. Pape further said that while he knew Cyrier was going to be sending out a flier, he wasn’t aware that his photo would be displayed. Pape’s comments were made later in the day since it is against established protocol for the judge or the commissioners to respond to citizen’s comments during the session. – Bastrop Advertiser
Pct. 2 Commissioner Clara Beckett publicly endorsed the same candidate, but no mention of this was made during or after court. Cyrier received 46.1 percent of the vote, and Brent Golemon got 24.5 percent of the vote. Curtis received 13.7 percent of the vote. As of press time, a date for the runoff between Cyrier and Goleman had not been set. – Bastrop Advertiser
Four citizens, including Curtis, spoke up against the lack of voting locations on the Jan. 6 election day. Only four out of the 20 usual locations were open. Out of the polling locations closed, nine did not have signage the morning of the election informing the public on where they needed to go to vote, Curtis stated, so she volunteered to have her supporters place signs with the consolidated polling locations at each of the closed sites. Curtis led with her charged testimony. “Men and women have died for the right to vote — and they would have been outraged about what happened in Bastrop County on Jan. 6,” she said. “Instead of finding a place to exercise their American right to vote, many were greeted by a locked door.” According to election officials, they did their best in notifying the population of the consolidated polling locations, in the same manner that they disperse information for any election. – Bastrop Advertiser
The locations were given out to all the candidates and the head of political parties, were posted at the courthouse in Bastrop and on Facebook and the county website, and were published in the Bastrop Advertiser. Debbie Barrington of Paige said that the online and news notifications were not enough for rural areas, commenting that ranchers may not have Internet service and may not get the newspaper. Some of the confusion regarding “last-minute changes” to polling places came about because of an “urgent” email sent from Democratic headquarters on Jan. 5, stating that the polling locations were “changed” to the four voting locations. However, on Jan. 7, the day after the election, the Democrats sent out an email apologizing, saying that the party chairman was notified on Dec. 17 by county officials of the four planned voting locations. – Bastrop Advertiser
Curtis holds Pape responsible for these closings and lack of information, claiming in a press conference that the judge made voting more difficult for Bastrop County residents so that Cyrier of Lockhart would have a better chance of being elected. “That’s nonsense,” said Pape. “The testimony from our election officials in court proves just the opposite, in fact. Nothing we did helped one candidate or any other, nor was it intended to. She (Curtis) has no evidence — that’s an empty accusation.” Bastrop County has roughly 46 percent of registered voters in the House district that spans five counties. Both Cyrier and Brent Goleman live outside Bastrop County. Recapping the voting, county elections administrator Bridgette Escobedo denied any wrongdoing on anyone’s part, stating that this is standard policy and not the first time the county has limited voting locations for an election. Reasons for limited polling locations included difficulty in scheduling usual location on short notice, costs and getting volunteers to work the sites, she stated. Statistics presented by Escobedo show that except for a presidential primary in 2012 in which 13.7 percent of registered voters in Bastrop County cast their votes, Jan. 6 had the best voter turnout in recent history at 9.6 percent. The 2014 primary election, with only four Election Day sites like Jan. 6, had just over half that turnout at 6 percent of those registered in the county. – Bastrop Advertiser
“Statistically, we did really well,” said Escobedo. “A county (Lee) of 10,000 voters utilized seven polling places without any incident that I am aware of,” said Lexington’s Michelle Gangnes, board member of the League of Independent Voters of Texas. “Yet Bastrop County with almost 40,000 registered voters definitely put a damper on an already unexpected, ill-publicized and rushed special election. Voters not only struggled for information, they struggled to vote.” She asked that Bastrop County ignore the costs and open all polling locations for all elections. After the meeting, Beckett said that while the weather was bad on Election Day, there were four early voting days that were beautiful and that most people were off work on Dec. 31 and could have early voted then. “Our town (Paige) is very frustrated with it, and we’ve had enough,” said Barrington, who said that it takes up to 30 minutes for Paige residents to reach Smithville, where they had to drive to vote. Paige’s usual voting location at the Community Center in Paige was closed. Her statement included the fact that people who worked in Austin had trouble getting to the polls during open hours, and that the elderly were not able to make that trip. In her comments, Lou MacNaughton of Dale said, “It’s not constitutional. It’s not fair. It hurts District 17. It hurts all of us.” Curtis’ third accusation regarded Pape’s request to Goleman to step down and out of the future runoff election, not yet scheduled, which would give Cyrier the representative position. Pape admits to talking to Goleman about dropping out. “We’re not going to have a representative in the House next Tuesday when the session starts,” he said. “With the runoff pending, we may not have any representative for six weeks. There was a 22-percent spread between the top candidate and the next. With the spread and the fact that we need to get someone sworn in and seated, I don’t feel that it’s irresponsible to ask that. That was my thinking.”
Goleman was still planning on running in the runoff election, according to his Facebook page earlier this week. “Keep fighting, Bastrop (County),” said Curtis, in her bid to have all polling Bastrop County locations open for the run-off election. “We’re going to have a fair election.”
Linda Curtis, who finished third in last week’s Texas House District 17 race, shows off a flier supporting candidate John Cyrier that features an image of Bastrop County Judge Paul Pape at a Jan. 12 Commissioners Court meeting. Curtis has filed a complaint with the state regarding Pape’s alleged misconduct of endorsing a candidate. FRAN HUNTER FOR BASTROPADVERTISER
Americans died for the right to vote. It is not a game of pool where the most skilled wins.
We warned you not to let them get away with it — and lordy knows you tried!
Yesterday, we filed a complaint with the Attorney General and the Secretary of State. Click here to read the complaint. Because this report contains the transcript of a phone call from Judge Paul Pape, I am also appending this letter from runoff candidate, Brent Golemon to be fair by allowing a rebuttal.
On election day, in Bastrop County, no one really knows how many citizens were denied their right to vote. With only four regular poll sites open (10,000 voters per poll), we can bet many especially rural and elderly voters did not really have a chance.
Bastrop County officials have remained indifferent. The County’s website had no listing of polls, nor was the tool on the site working that was supposed to help those with internet access find their poll.
Colleen Duffy doesn’t have internet access. She drove down to the County Courthouse to find her poll site. But there was an error on the list downstairs. When she was directed to the Elections office, the clerk found an error on the County’s own online list. Meanwhile, the two voters who happened to be there at the same time as Duffy, left in disgust. Be sure read Duffy’s affidavit on page 6 of the complaint.
What we you do now? I just called and left a message for the new Governor. Now, you you do it. Call and ask the Governor to slow down this election a week or two to ensure Bastrop voters’ right to vote. Call Governor Greg Abbott at this number during the day (512) 463-2000 or this number during the evening (512) 463-1782. Ask others to do the same this weekend. The election could be set early next week.
We also hope to see you at these events!
- Tues., Jan. 20, 6:30 pm, Giddings, Downtown Restaurant, Independent Texans Mtg., 155 W. Austin.
- Wed., Jan. 21, 7 pm, Bastrop City Hall, Lost Pines Groundwater Conservation District Mtg., 904 Main St.
- Thurs., Jan. 22, 6:30 pm, Lexington, Woodson Community Center, Independent Texans Mtg, 631 N. Rockdale.
- Thurs., Jan. 22, Lytton Springs, 6:00 pm, Lytton Springs Baptist Church, 8511 FM 1854, about the Lockhart landfill held by EPICC.
Saturday, Jan. 24, ALL TEXANS! League of Independent Voters of Texas Annual Meeting, in Bastrop, click here for more & reserve a seat!
Hold on to your hats, folks — it’s going to be a bumpy ride in this legislative session and in this runoff election. Better get ready!
This release was just sent to Texas media.
The actual complaint, affidavits and other attachments will be posted just after filing with the Attorney General today.
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
6:00 a.m., January 15, 2015
CONTACT: Linda Curtis, Director of Independent Texans, (512) 657-2089, firstname.lastname@example.org
HEAD: HD 17 Candidate Asks Attorney General to Redress Voting Rights Grievances
AUSTIN, (Jan 15th, 2015) — Linda Curtis, former independent candidate for the Texas House of Representatives in District 17, today called for the Texas Attorney General’s office to investigate and remediate alleged voting rights violations in the recent special election held January 6th.
Included in Ms. Curtis’ brief to the A.G. are affidavits from voters and volunteers who witnessed election irregularities, as well as purported evidence of electioneering by County Judge Paul Pape in violation of the Texas Judicial Code of Conduct.
“People have died for the right to vote in this country,” Curtis said in recent testimony to the Bastrop Commissioner’s Court. “But this election, instead of finding a place to exercise their constitutional right to vote, they found a locked door.”
Judge Pape oversaw the consolidation of Bastrop’s usual twenty polling places into four, purportedly for financial reasons. As a result, Bastrop had one polling location operational for every 10,000 registered voters; all other counties in District 17 had one poll per 2,000. Four of the HD 17 candidates reside in Bastrop; only frontrunner John Cyrier lives in Caldwell.
“The actions of Judge Pape suppressed the vote in Bastrop, clearly favoring establishment favorite Cyrier” Curtis claimed. Ten polling locations were open in Caldwell, with 20,000 registered voters, against four in Bastrop, with 40,000 voters registered.
Many of Bastrop’s 16 closed locations had no signage indicating where open polls could be found. One voter’s sworn affidavit states “I drove to my normal polling location… (t)here were no voting or candidate signs and no activity in the parking lot… I drove to the Bastrop County Courthouse, where early voting is often held. Again, there were no signs of voting activity.” The same affidavit refers to voters “giving up” on voting.
According to Curtis, in addition to suppressing the vote in Bastrop, Judge Pape also engaged in “electioneering”, activity prohibited to judges by the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.
“Judge Pape, who has county court at law (judicial) functions, electioneered for a candidate on a political mass mailer paid for by candidate John Cyrier,” she states in her brief. In addition, Curtis claims to have taped a phone call in which “Pape pressured me not to support Brent Golemon and to support his preferred candidate, John Cyrier.”
“Bastrop County elections administrators have said they intend to conduct the runoff election identically to the January 6th fiasco,” Curtis stated. “We need the AG to step in, first and foremost to protect voter’s rights, and secondly, to investigate why these actions where taken by Pape.”
Background: According to her bio (http://indytexans.org/about/bios/), Linda Curtis is a “leading spokesperson, analyst and tactician for the Texas independent political movement.” She was a principal organizer of the recent drive to 10-1 in Austin, and is the co-founder of Independent Texans, PAC.