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Incorrect and Intimidating Signs Show Ongoing GOP Defiance of Federal Court
From the outset, Greg Abbott, Ken Paxton and the Texas Secretary of State have failed to ensure that the orders of the Federal District Court Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos have been correctly followed by election officials in Texas. Posting incorrect and intimidating signs at the polling place fits their pattern of court defiance.
The Texas Voter ID law has been ruled discriminatory by four separate federal courts, and Texas is under federal orders to follow new and different procedures for voting during the 2016 elections. Rather than follow court instructions in good faith, attorneys representing Paxton and Abbott, along with officials with the Secretary of State, have consistently defied the court. Collectively they are producing incorrect voting materials, failing to properly inform local election officials of new guidelines and posting incorrect signage and instructions at early voting locations.
Old & Incorrect Signs Posted in Early Voting Locations
Given Texas GOP leaders' history of court defiance and voter suppression, it’s no surprise that early voting opened in Texas yesterday with election officials posting large signs with incorrect information that Judge Ramos had ordered changed.
Through a combination of incompetence and willful defiance, the Secretary of State appears to be creating confusion rather than clarity around voter ID requirements in Texas.
The poster above was posted by election officials around the state even though it was rejected by the federal court as providing incomplete and misleading information to voters.
Texas Republicans have established a pattern of defying federal court
The notion of every Texan who is eligible to vote being given the opportunity to vote terrifies Greg Abbott and other Texas Republican leaders. Their hold on power in Texas relies upon low voter turnout, especially among African American, Hispanic and young voters of all ethnicities. Discriminatory district maps and discriminatory voting laws are just part of the story. Ongoing resistance to following court instructions is also part of their overall strategy to undermine and suppress voter turnout:
- Judge Forced to Reissue Instructions to State Officials. Five weeks ago, Judge Ramos was forced to chastise state officials and reissue instructions after the Secretary of State, following the lead of the AG Paxton’s office, produced incorrect and misleading voting instructions and materials. These problems arose despite the Republican-led Texas Secretary of State office awarding a $2.5 million contract to an outside PR firm to produce materials and manage voter communication.
GOP Vote Suppression and Incorrect Election Instruction Persists. Only last week, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center sent letters to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Tarrant County Elections Administrator detailing serious voting concerns. The DOJ was informed that vote suppression efforts were underway by Tarrant County Republican Party operatives. Also, Tarrant County election officials themselves were put on notice that election administrators were providing incorrect voter ID information to the public and to the press.
SOS should explain, apologize and demand that taxpayer funds be returned
The public relations firm of Burson-Marsteller is set to receive as much as $2.5 million to produce materials and carry out voter education programs in Texas. The firm has close political ties to Republican leaders in Texas. Most prominently, Karen Hughes who is not only the former White House Communications Director under George W. Bush but also a former Executive Director of the Republican Party of Texas – is a principal in the PR firm.
The education and communication efforts overseen by the Secretary of State have been bungled badly. Secretary of State Carlos H. Cascos should explain and apologize to Texans for the problems and immediately demand that Burson-Marsteller return money already paid to them.