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Democrats Expanding Base, Launch New ePrimary Poll

Meanwhile, Republican Candidates Bail on GOP Straw Poll
TDP ePrimary Poll – Open to all Texans

The Texas Democratic Party is launching an innovative ePrimary Poll today, August 31, 2007 with voting to continue through Friday, September 7, 2007. (See TDP ePrimary Poll Here) The online poll is open to all Texas Democrats and is designed to engage voters all across the state. The ePrimary Poll provides Texas Democrats their first chance to weigh in on the Presidential Primary. The ePrimary Poll does not require previous Democratic voting history or convention attendance. Instead, just like a Democratic Primary in Texas, voters simply cast a ballot for the candidate they prefer.

GOP Straw Poll – No New Members Need Apply

 Primary Voters from 2000-2006Voters Eligible in Dem ePrimary vs. GOP Straw Poll
Texas GOP Straw Poll1,554,928less than 1%
Texas Dem ePrimary Poll1,779,937100%
Source: TX Secretary of State, Houston Chronicle, Daily Texan

In stark contrast, the Texas Republican Party has imposed severe restrictions on who can participate in their Texas GOP straw poll to be held in Fort Worth over Labor Day weekend. Under the Texas Republican rules, only past activists and party regulars can cast a vote. To cast a ballot in the Texas GOP Straw Poll, a voter must have:

  • Served as a Delegate or Alternate Delegate to at least one of the last four Republican State Conventions; or
  • Attended one of the last two Republican National Conventions; and
  • Paid a fee of $50 to $75.

Of the 1.5 million people who voted in a Republican primary over the last six years, fewer than 15,000 attended a recent GOP convention and are eligible to vote. That means less than one percent of Texas Republican Primary voters will be allowed to express their opinion in the GOP Presidential Straw Poll.

Texas Republican leaders have long been justifiably criticized for suppressing Democratic votes and creating barriers to voting in a general election. (see one example here)  Republican animosity to all new voters, even those in their own party, takes insecurity and desperation to hold power to a new level.

Comparison: GOP Straw Poll vs. Democratic ePrimary Poll

 Texas Republican Party Straw PollTexas Democratic Party ePrimary Poll
ParticipationMust have been a GOP Delegate or Alternate to a recent Party ConventionAll Texas voters are welcome
Cost$50-$75 to voteNo Cost to Participants
LocationFort WorthAny computer in Texas
AttendanceMust attend event in Fort Worth over Labor Day WeekendCan vote from any location in Texas from August 31 – September 7th
Candidates ParticipatingRon Paul
Duncan Hunter
Joe Biden
Hillary Clinton
Chris Dodd
John Edwards
Mike Gravel
Dennis Kucinich
Barack Obama
Bill Richardson
Candidates Opting Out

Rudy Giuliani
Mitt Romney
John McCain
Fred Thompson
Mike Huckabee
Sam Brownback

None

(Source: Fort Worth Star-Telgram, August 30, 2007)

Republican Straw Poll never got off the ground

The Texas Republican Straw Poll has been plagued with troubles from the very beginning, with all top tier Presidential candidates dropping out and viewing it as irrelevant.  Even second tier candidates like Mike Huckbee and Sam Brownback have bailed, leaving only Libertarian Ron Paul and the virtually unknown Duncan Hunter.  Now Republican Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst, and Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison have announced they are also skipping the straw poll.

Perry, Dewhurst and Craddick Torpedoed GOP Straw Poll

Perhaps the most damaging blow to the Republican Straw Poll came from their own elected leadership.  Earlier this year, Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and Speaker Tom Craddick refused to move up the Texas Presidential Primary to February 5th.  Democratic legislative and party leaders strongly supported a primary move, acknowledging that the earlier primary date would create excitement and bring new participants into the primaries from both parties. The Republican leaders, however, failed to push the primary bill, and it died when the legislature adjourned. As a result, Republican leaders left Texas voters without a serious voice in the primary and left their own party with a meaningless presidential Straw Poll. Now, presidential candidates are treating Texas like they normally do – as an ATM machine to claim Texans’ dollars instead of Texans’ votes.

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