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Texas House Democrats Walk Out of Session


Hestia
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Texas Democrats have, for now, defeated the legislation to put all kinds of new restrictions on voting in the state. It was only the fourth walkout in the history of the Texas legislature. The bill would've included:

- An end to drive-up voting

- An end to 24-hour voting

(Keep in mind, voters of color made up over 50% of those that used those two methods)

- Can't vote on Sunday mornings (an explicit end to the "souls to the polls" by Black Churches)

- Also made it easier for judges to overturn elections 

- Election officials would face felony charges for even accidentally sending a mail application vote to someone who didn't request it

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28 minutes ago, Hestia said:

Texas Democrats have, for now, defeated the legislation to put all kinds of new restrictions on voting in the state. It was only the fourth walkout in the history of the Texas legislature. The bill would've included:

- An end to drive-up voting

- An end to 24-hour voting

(Keep in mind, voters of color made up over 50% of those that used those two methods)

- Can't vote on Sunday mornings (an explicit end to the "souls to the polls" by Black Churches)

- Also made it easier for judges to overturn elections 

- Election officials would face felony charges for even accidentally sending a mail application vote to someone who didn't request it

Seems pretty obvious that the Texan GOP strategy is: If we cant get the minorities to vote for us, let's just prevent them from voting!

 

GOP will wake up when they lose Texas in an election cycle or two.

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Drive up and 24 hour voting were only introduced during the 2020 election. It is not some unprecedented move to remove those things.

As for judicial challenges, the amount of fraudulent ballots must still reach the margin of victory (still a very difficult hurdle to get over). This change doesn't mean judges are just gonna overturn elections willy-nilly.

And yes, it does ban officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballots (probably the most important aspect related to election security). I'm sure the courts can sort out harmless, rare accidents verses blatant violations of this provision.

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2 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Drive up and 24 hour voting were only introduced during the 2020 election. It is not some unprecedented move to remove those things.

As for judicial challenges, the amount of fraudulent ballots must still reach the margin of victory (still a very difficult hurdle to get over). This change doesn't mean judges are just gonna overturn elections willy-nilly.

And yes, it does ban officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballots (probably the most important aspect related to election security). I'm sure the courts can sort out harmless, rare accidents verses blatant violations of this provision.

Drive-up and 24 hour voting were new, yes, but it is important to look at why they changed it. Why outlaw it if it didn't hurt anybody? It surely wasn't because of fraud or anything else, it was about the kinds of people who used those voting systems. Namely, minorities. 

I'm less aware of the judicial challenges, but if it is fraudulent ballots total (rather than just fraudulent ballots in favor of that candidate that won, or an average between them), that isn't really fair either.

The problem with your thinking on the last part, is that the law doesn't make a distinction between the two. You can say that the courts will sort it out, but there's no guarantee that they will. The law certainly doesn't require them to. 

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15 minutes ago, Hestia said:

Drive-up and 24 hour voting were new, yes, but it is important to look at why they changed it. Why outlaw it if it didn't hurt anybody? It surely wasn't because of fraud or anything else, it was about the kinds of people who used those voting systems. Namely, minorities. 

I'm less aware of the judicial challenges, but if it is fraudulent ballots total (rather than just fraudulent ballots in favor of that candidate that won, or an average between them), that isn't really fair either.

The problem with your thinking on the last part, is that the law doesn't make a distinction between the two. You can say that the courts will sort it out, but there's no guarantee that they will. The law certainly doesn't require them to. 

The point in prohibiting those things is for election security. It is much harder to keep track of mobile units and drop boxes (as compared to a single destination which is manned when in operation).

I don't really have any strong feelings about the judicial changes, that was just what I saw.

This would not be the only instance that the law doesn't create an exception for accidents. While it might be easier if that were the case, many things are left for the judicial system to sort out. This just goes along with that.. It isn't anything out of the ordinary.

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56 minutes ago, Patine said:

 

 

As noble a gesture as this walkout is, it ignores the REAL problems around American elections and they're lack of being free-and-fair, and having real choice, that both Republicans and Democrats gleefully collaborate on and benefit from. The ones I've been going on about for quite a while.

I can agree with you on that. I would love to see ballot reform that removes the special status of the 2 major parties (eliminating state subsidized primary elections, more realistic requirements for getting on the ballot, eliminating party-line vote options, etc.)

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4 hours ago, jvikings1 said:

And yes, it does ban officials from sending unsolicited mail-in ballots (probably the most important aspect related to election security). I'm sure the courts can sort out harmless, rare accidents verses blatant violations of this provision.

Of course.  If you sent a ballot to someone of the judge's party, it's a harmless accident.  If you sent a ballot to someone of another party, you go to jail.

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22 minutes ago, pilight said:

Of course.  If you sent a ballot to someone of the judge's party, it's a harmless accident.  If you sent a ballot to someone of another party, you go to jail.

You could literally use this argument (or lack thereof) for any crime.

If a member of a judges party kills someone, its automatically self defense. If a member of the other party kills someone, it's gonna be murder.

 

Should a judge reach this point, you'd have a whole lot more problems than this circumstance (and people will likely catch on).

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1 hour ago, Patine said:

 

In Canada, all sitting judges on all courts on every level are legally mandated to be non-partisan. They even give up the right to vote as a prerequisite to taking their place on the bench while they actively serve there. Maybe an interesting idea for the U.S. (but that would, of course, mean ending the elections of county and State judges - which, like elected sheriffs, is a bad idea, anyways - and the U.S. President nominating, and the U.S. Senate confirming, Federal judges, selecting them, de facto, on ideological stance and partisan spoils and patronage over competence, merit, and achievement, as a strong tendency - which, again, is already a bad practice).

It’s insane to me that we have elected judges at all. 

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5 hours ago, jvikings1 said:

The point in prohibiting those things is for election security. It is much harder to keep track of mobile units and drop boxes (as compared to a single destination which is manned when in operation).

Ok. That’s a theoretical issue, but it hasn’t actually happened in practice. How can it be about election security when our elections were in fact secure using these methods?

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7 minutes ago, Dobs said:

Ok. That’s a theoretical issue, but it hasn’t actually happened in practice. How can it be about election security when our elections were in fact secure using these methods?

Just because something may have been pulled off in the past without issues does not necessarily mean it is the most secure way of doing things. Drop boxes can be difficult to monitor, which opens the door for tampering. Requiring ballots be submitted at a single brick and mortar facility reduces the risks involved (therefore increasing election security). Mail-in ballots are an easy one. Sending out unsolicited requests (or worse, ballots themselves), makes it more difficult to track the process (which is already a lot less secure than traditional in-person voting).

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55 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Just because something may have been pulled off in the past without issues does not necessarily mean it is the most secure way of doing things. Drop boxes can be difficult to monitor, which opens the door for tampering. Requiring ballots be submitted at a single brick and mortar facility reduces the risks involved (therefore increasing election security). Mail-in ballots are an easy one. Sending out unsolicited requests (or worse, ballots themselves), makes it more difficult to track the process (which is already a lot less secure than traditional in-person voting).

You keep saying it “can be”. I’m just confused by this because while it “can be” we’ve clearly developed the election security measures to ensure that it won’t be. We know this because it wasn’t. I just think it’s a weak argument when you’ve got theory trying to overturn the empirical experiences we actually have with these methods.

It seems like overcaution being used to overturn the individual rights of citizens, particularly that to influence its government, one of the greatest rights of all. That whole trope of overcaution being used to restrict rights should be something to which we Libertarian-leaning folks are naturally opposed.

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2 hours ago, jvikings1 said:

You could literally use this argument (or lack thereof) for any crime.

If a member of a judges party kills someone, its automatically self defense. If a member of the other party kills someone, it's gonna be murder.

 

Should a judge reach this point, you'd have a whole lot more problems than this circumstance (and people will likely catch on).

People of certain skin colors are more likely to be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted without anything happening.  Why would political standing be any different?

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8 minutes ago, pilight said:

Drop Box fraud has, in fact, occurred in practice.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/12/us/politics/california-gop-drop-boxes.html

 

And the state handled it and no actual fraud in the election was reported. Allow California to deal with corrupt officials as it will in state law, that’s still not a compelling reason to restrict access to voting when clearly proper measures are in place.

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14 hours ago, Dobs said:

You keep saying it “can be”. I’m just confused by this because while it “can be” we’ve clearly developed the election security measures to ensure that it won’t be. We know this because it wasn’t. I just think it’s a weak argument when you’ve got theory trying to overturn the empirical experiences we actually have with these methods.

It seems like overcaution being used to overturn the individual rights of citizens, particularly that to influence its government, one of the greatest rights of all. That whole trope of overcaution being used to restrict rights should be something to which we Libertarian-leaning folks are naturally opposed.

Except, there is no definitive proof that these methods are secure enough in Texas, considering this past election was the first time they were used. Maybe there are loopholes that can be exploited in the future. Maybe not, but that remains the be seen. I know here in Kentucky, our elections are very vulnerable to fraud. At my house, there are 12 registered voters (but only 5 of which are from my family). This past election, with the increased mail-in balloting that was adopted, someone from my house could have easily sent in more than 1 ballot, and it would have very likely slipped through the cracks (once again emphasizing the weaknesses of bail-in ballots, especially when sent out unsolicited). And I must also emphasize, that I am not necessarily making an argument for these policies per say, rather disputing the ridiculous notion that these decisions are due to racism (something that has been thrown around so much, that the term basically means nothing these days). So, I am not conceding to your point because that is not the focus of my response.

No, libertarians are for the protection of our natural, God-given, inalienable rights (life, liberty, and property), something that voting does not fall under. Voting comes from the government and does not necessarily respect the rights of others (in most cases, it actually encourages the encroachment on such rights). So do not lump me in with your distorted view of liberty (which reminds me more of the LP than actual liberty warriors).

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2 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

Except, there is no definitive proof that these methods are secure enough in Texas, considering this past election was the first time they were used. Maybe there are loopholes that can be exploited in the future. Maybe not, but that remains the be seen. I know here in Kentucky, our elections are very vulnerable to fraud. At my house, there are 12 registered voters (but only 5 of which are from my family). This past election, with the increased mail-in balloting that was adopted, someone from my house could have easily sent in more than 1 ballot, and it would have very likely slipped through the cracks (once again emphasizing the weaknesses of bail-in ballots, especially when sent out unsolicited). And I must also emphasize, that I am not necessarily making an argument for these policies per say, rather disputing the ridiculous notion that these decisions are due to racism (something that has been thrown around so much, that the term basically means nothing these days). So, I am not conceding to your point because that is not the focus of my response.

No, libertarians are for the protection of our natural, God-given, inalienable rights (life, liberty, and property), something that voting does not fall under. Voting comes from the government and does not necessarily respect the rights of others (in most cases, it actually encourages the encroachment on such rights). So do not lump me in with your distorted view of liberty (which reminds me more of the LP than actual liberty warriors).

I’d apply voting under liberty. Seems a little shifty to not apply that to liberty. 

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14 hours ago, pilight said:

People of certain skin colors are more likely to be arrested, prosecuted, and convicted without anything happening.  Why would political standing be any different?

Once again, that could be applied to any crime. And if happening, signals a larger problem that should be focused on.

11 hours ago, Patine said:

 

But why are U.S. judges still allowed to apply openly partisan views and biases in court cases, and this is acceptable, and, in fact, desired, preferable, and even a primary qualifier to choose someone for the position? Don't you think this defeats the whole purpose of the very concept of, you know, JUSITCE?

Good question. The problem is that there are not a whole lot of good methods these days for which to turn to. Here in Kentucky, we have non-partisan judicial elections, but that doesn't stop them from having biases. They often will attend local party events (and even have those local parties endorse/promote the judicial candidate). In one key instance, we have a hack judge (unfortunately a graduate of my university) that is holding up recent legislation that reforms emergency powers, even though those powers were explicitly granted from the legislature.

So, I certainly agree with your assertion that the ways things are have problems, but the problem is coming up with a way to fix the most problems without creating new ones.

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11 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

This past election, with the increased mail-in balloting that was adopted, someone from my house could have easily sent in more than 1 ballot,

Many states have ran mail-in balloting for at least a decade (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, those states come to mind), yet this never happens there. Pretty sure that you're just making up hypotheticals to justify an excuse, rather than have any evidence behind them. There's no evidence that any state in 2020 mangled the process, and indeed, some states have proven that it's worked for years. Keep in mind, Washington sends them out all unsolicited 🙂

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/im-the-republican-secretary-of-state-in-washington-and-i-believe-voting-by-mail-works-2020-09-22

 

14 minutes ago, jvikings1 said:

No, libertarians are for the protection of our natural, God-given, inalienable rights (life, liberty, and property), something that voting does not fall under.

Voting is not liberty? That's a very dystopian view of the term. The definition in Meriam Webster says: 1 : the quality or state of being free: a : the power to do as one pleases. b : freedom from physical restraint. c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic (see despot sense 1) control. d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges. I think voting would clearly fall under term d, but also would fall somewhat under terms a and c. 

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1 minute ago, vcczar said:

I’d apply voting under liberty. Seems a little shifty to not apply that to liberty. 

Not from a liberty mindset. Voting allows people to infringe upon the rights of others, thus requiring restrictions should it be chosen as the method for a particular government. Thus, the "right" to vote must be infringed upon in such a circumstance in order to protect the inalienable rights (which are negative rights).

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Just now, Hestia said:

Many states have ran mail-in balloting for at least a decade (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, those states come to mind), yet this never happens there. Pretty sure that you're just making up hypotheticals to justify an excuse, rather than have any evidence behind them. There's no evidence that any state in 2020 mangled the process, and indeed, some states have proven that it's worked for years. Keep in mind, Washington sends them out all unsolicited 🙂

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/im-the-republican-secretary-of-state-in-washington-and-i-believe-voting-by-mail-works-2020-09-22

 

Voting is not liberty? That's a very dystopian view of the term. The definition in Meriam Webster says: 1 : the quality or state of being free: a : the power to do as one pleases. b : freedom from physical restraint. c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic (see despot sense 1) control. d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges. I think voting would clearly fall under term d, but also would fall somewhat under terms a and c. 

There is no way to guarantee that unsolicited mail-in ballots are secure. For instance, there were cases where ballots were found in the dumpster this past year in Kentucky. Not to mention the horrible condition of the voter rolls. Thus the justification for restrictions on mail-in ballots being sent out willy-nilly is that they open the possibility for security breaches that are difficult to trace (giving a legitimate reason for a  policy proposal).

 

This is the same Meriam Webster that has changed definitions based on political pressure. Pulling from that contributes nothing to a philosophical discussion. Additionally that statement was specifically along the lines of libertarianism, which would have is own definition (mainly revolving around John Locke and his rights of man).

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1 minute ago, jvikings1 said:

There is no way to guarantee that unsolicited mail-in ballots are secure. For instance, there were cases where ballots were found in the dumpster this past year in Kentucky. Not to mention the horrible condition of the voter rolls. Thus the justification for restrictions on mail-in ballots being sent out willy-nilly is that they open the possibility for security breaches that are difficult to trace (giving a legitimate reason for a  policy proposal).

 

You keep making the same claim but aren't showing why they aren't secure. As for the dumpster cases, ballots are required to have signature verification in all 50 states. So if someone did fill it out and send it in that wasn't supposed to, nothing would happen, it would just get thrown out. No one could just take them up and send them in and assume they get counted, that's just wrong. Other states have witness requirements. If the witness/voter doesn't agree with the ballot, it doesn't get counted. 

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2 minutes ago, Hestia said:

You keep making the same claim but aren't showing why they aren't secure. As for the dumpster cases, ballots are required to have signature verification in all 50 states. So if someone did fill it out and send it in that wasn't supposed to, nothing would happen, it would just get thrown out. No one could just take them up and send them in and assume they get counted, that's just wrong. Other states have witness requirements. If the witness/voter doesn't agree with the ballot, it doesn't get counted. 

Well like I said above, I am not necessarily arguing for the policy, but disputing the claim that there is no public policy justification for these requirements. These are legitimate arguments for why security might be an issue that focuses on policies themselves (not that they are necessarily the best). Maybe if you would read the threads before responding, you would have understood that.

Though the response would be that witness statements can be forged. If a voter is dead or no longer in the state, they will likely not realize someone voted in their name. And who knows how seriously election workers are scrutinizing signatures.

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1 minute ago, jvikings1 said:

Well like I said above, I am not necessarily arguing for the policy, but disputing the claim that there is no public policy justification for these requirements. These are legitimate arguments for why security might be an issue that focuses on policies themselves (not that they are necessarily the best). Maybe if you would read the threads before responding, you would have understood that.

Though the response would be that witness statements can be forged. If a voter is dead or no longer in the state, they will likely not realize someone voted in their name. And who knows how seriously election workers are scrutinizing signatures.

There's no reason to be condescending 🙂

I am simply disputing the policy, so if you don't want to have the conversation anymore, you can choose to stop replying. The fact is that this has been used for decades in some states, like Oregon and Washington. The website below shows that in the 20 years that Oregon has used it, they've only had 15 cases of fraud in their history. Hawaii was watched from 1982-2016 and only found 2.  Compare that with Heritage's collection of your own state of Kentucky has had 31, and my home state of Iowa has had 17 😄 The data just bears out that it is secure, and anything else is just guess work. 

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/06/02/low-rates-of-fraud-in-vote-by-mail-states-show-the-benefits-outweigh-the-risks/

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