In Texas, a Fire Kindles Fears of Voter Fraud
Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 3:37 pm
Democrats actually have a chance of winning a few races in Texas this year, but to do so, they have to be able to vote. In Harris County, a key county where progressives have targeted voter registration efforts, an August fire destroyed much of the the county’s voting infrastructure. Chris Kromm at Facing South reports:
Harris County’s election administrator, Beverly Kaufman has scrambled to fill the void, borrowing machines from 15 other Texas counties — and even one in Colorado — as well as printing paper ballots and buying other equipment. Kaufman predicts that by Election Day, Harris County will have up to 5,000 of the usual 5,700 machines they typically field, meaning that each of the county’s 730 polling stations will be one machine short.
Not surprisingly, in the wake of the fire, rumors concerning voter fraud are flying. Voter fraud is actually quite uncommon, so as a rule fears of tampering can be chalked up to paranoia.
But confusion about voting procedures can impact elections, and as TWI sister publication The Texas Independent reported this week, the hubbub in Harris County is rippling over into other counties as well. After Travis County lent Harris a number of its voting machines, an independent group that distrusts voting machines announced that paper ballots would be made available. Not true, reported The Texas Independent:
Travis County had purchased surplus machines to handle large numbers of voters during the 2008 elections (when turnout was above 60 percent), and that the county would be able to accommodate a smaller gubernatorial election (when turnout is typically between 40-50 percent) without the extra machines.
But this kind of false information is exactly what creates false expectations among voters, gins up tension on election day, and leads to accusations of election tampering.
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