Harris County Democratic Party vs Lloyd Oliver – vote suppression attempt?

At yesterday’s Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club, Ed Johnson from the Harris County Clerk’s office gave an update on the attempt by the Harris County Democratic Party to remove their District Attorney nominee, Lloyd Oliver, from the ballot in November. His update had to do with the effect on ballot printing and mail out ballots.

Ed Johnson discusses ballot printing at the Downtown Houston Pachyderm Club.

It makes one wonder: is this entire episode a ruse by the HCDP designed to bring chaos to the process in an attempt to steal the election?

Here’s the deal. Mr. Oliver filed suit to put his name back on the ballot in state court (where it belongs). The HCDP filed  a motion to move it to the federal courts, where they have had success lately. A hearing was held this past Tuesday in front of Federal Judge Lee Rosenthal. During this hearing, September 6th was given as the date a decision must be rendered by.

But that date is for the FINAL decision. Thus far, she has not seemed to be in a hurry to rule. If she doesn’t get with it and make a decision, there will not be time to hear the case, be it in federal or state court . Why? Because of the ballot printing and approval process.

The due date for political parties to turn their ballots in to the Texas Secretary of State was yesterday, August 30. The Harris County Democratic Party turned their ballot in sans Mr. Oliver. The process of printing ballots, applying logic tests and getting all parties involved to sign off on them takes approximately three weeks. If a decision isn’t made in this case before September 6th, ballots will be printed without Mr. Oliver’s name and then will go through the approval process.

If those ballots are mailed to voters requesting them and a later decision by the court rules that Mr. Oliver should be on the ballot (as expected), the ballots must be reprinted, pass the logic tests, be reapproved, and then mailed again.

So let’s pretend that you are an elderly voter that received one of the first ballots, made your selections, and mailed the ballot back. Then, you receive another ballot in the mail – you know that you’ve already voted once and toss the second ballot in the trash.

When the ballot board goes to count ballots, they have in their hands the first ballot, the one without Mr. Oliver’s name on it, but cannot find the second ballot that was sent to this elderly voter. What do they do?

Consider that in the last two elections, 2008 and 2010, Harris County Republicans have won the absentee balloting 2-1. Consider again that because Democrat Bill White won Harris County in 2010, the Harris County Democratic Party controls the ballot board.

What do you think the decision will be? Toss the ballot in the trash.

Judge Rosenthal needs to decide TODAY and then the full hearing needs to be held immediately regardless of which court it ends up in.

Talk about disenfranchising voters – why aren’t “real” reporters talking about this very real possibility?


  1. Christopher Jungman says

    Personally after hearing about all the fraud that happens with mail-in ballots I think they should be done away with (except for the military). Voters KNOW when early voting and election day is and should make every effort to cast their vote then. This would save tax payers lots of money.

  2. Paul F. Simpson says

    The usual rule in ballot contests like this is that, after a certain date before the election, it's too late to change ballots and the dispute becomes moot. So the status quo at that point becomes the final status, and the ballot can't be changed even if it's wrong. Or, as David suggests, it's conceivable a federal court could order a late change, then his scenario would play out. Either way — the Democrats benefit. The Dems had months to remove Lloyd Oliver from their ballot, but waited until the last minute to do so. That was strategic delay. And that the Dems are even pulling this stunt shows they think they have a chance down ballot in November. Don't let that happen, GOPers.

  3. Ray Barr says

    Lloyd Oliver is against corruption. His opponent is supported by corruption to the tune of $700K. Vote for Lloyd Oliver, if you want a District Attorney who will fight corruption and major crimes being committed by big money interests.

  4. Cathy Heaney says

    It is coming out in the wash already. One of Lloyd Oliver’s opponent’s contributors bragged on Twitter that he bought influence for $5K from District Attorney candidate Michael Anderson. He is an Arab and suggested that other foreign interests should do the same thing. Now we know how Michael Anderson got $700K in political contributions for a barely contested appearing race.