Strong Arm of the Law

Why is Greg Abbott smiling? Something to do with watching an old lady bathe, mebbe?

If you're old, a minority and a Democrat who loves your country enough to vote regularly, you should draw the blinds when you take a bath, 'cause Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and his boys might be peeking. Well, not Abbott personally, far as we know, but one of his investigators looking into voting fraud, a crime that apparently is committed only by black and Hispanic Dems because, you know, white Republicans are so damned honest.

Writer Steven Rosenfeld at the Texas Observer has a must-read story about the AG's prosecution of "voter fraud" and its effect on Democratic volunteers who assist elderly voters cast mail-in ballots. Seriously, you must read. There'll be a quiz. Seems that Abbott's so hot on the trail of the criminal elderly that a pair of his agents spied on a 69-year-old Fort Worth community activist as she bathed. Do state cops get medals for that sort of work?

After the jump, the Unfair Park investigation -- which means we called Darlene Ewing, Dallas County Democratic Party chair.

As our own Jim Schutze reported in 2001, some of the "volunteers" who assist elderly and disabled voters in filling out and mailing in ballots aren't always motivated solely by a love of democracy. In Dallas County, dishonest "vote brokers" allegedly would collect batches of absentee ballots in minority neighborhoods and then sell them for a fee, Schutze reported.

But as Ewing tells Unfair Park, Abbott's office has been sweeping up honest volunteers. Their crime, according to the Texas Observer, is failure to fill in paperwork correctly...and, of course, being Dems.

"I've heard those rumors [of vote brokers], but in all of the prosecutions that Greg Abbott has done, he has never prosecuted a vote broker," Ewing says. "If he had a list of vote brokers, that'd be one thing...[but] it's nothing but smoke and mirrors for the purpose of intimidation."

And it appears to be working. "My precinct chairmen who have been helping elderly voters for years are scared, and that's what intimidation is for," Ewing says.

On the up side, it seems we have finally found a GOP-administered program that works. Whose says the Republican leadership is incompetent? Besides virtually everyone, we mean. --Patrick Williams

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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