Archive for August 31st, 2020

Commentary knows a thing or two about mail ballot voting in the State of Texas.

Keith Ingram, Director of Elections for the Office of the Texas Secretary of State (SOS), told the Harris County Clerk on Friday that the County Clerk can’t send out mail ballot applications to all registered voters.  It looks like the SOS is backtracking and waffling on this issue.

Let’s go back to the April 2, 2020 Election Advisory titled “COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Voting and Election Procedures” authored by Mr. Ingram that addressed mail ballots and the Disability excuse.  Here is what the advisory said:

One of the grounds for voting by mail is disability. The Election Code defines “disability” to include “a sickness or physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place on election day without a likelihood of needing personal assistance or of injuring the voter’s health.” (Sec. 82.002). Voters who meet this definition and wish to vote a ballot by mail must submit an application for ballot by mail.

Here is the entire advisory:  https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/6824368/ADV2020-14-COVID-19-Coronavirus-Voting-and.pdf.

Commentary has addressed this previously.  Before the Democratic Party Primary Runoff Election, we interpreted the Disability excuse reference in the Advisory as a mechanism to send mail ballot applications to those under 65 years of age.  We developed a mail ballot application using the exact same language from the April 2 Advisory.  We forwarded the application to Mr. Ingram’s office for their review and here is how they responded: “That mailer looks fine to us.”

Our application even listed three steps for the applicant to go through including marking the Disability excuse.  If the Harris County Clerk follows the same language that we used, I don’t see why there should be a problem. Nothing has really changed.  We are still in the middle of a pandemic.  Folks are still getting infected, sick and dying, including voters.

BTW:  The Harris County Clerk was aware of our application and processed those applications who were sent in by the voters.

Say you are under 65 years of age and you may have an asthmatic, upper respiratory, mild heart, or underlying medical condition that never prevented you from voting in person in the past.  COVID-19 has changed this thinking.  Why not now use the Disability excuse and vote by mail? We are wearing masks for a reason. We learn every day something new about the virus.  You may have a medical condition within you that you don’t even know about that could get exacerbated by COVID-19.  The Secretary of State’s Office was willing to play it safe before the runoffs.  They were certainly aware of the health challenges facing some voters. Now they are waffling big time.

What has changed?  Back in April, they didn’t think the election in Texas was going to be this close.  They didn’t think that Donald Trump and Gov. Greg Abbott would both tragically mishandle the response to COVID-19.  They didn’t think that Texas would be one of the world leaders in infections.  They didn’t count on an aggressive voter participation campaign by the Harris County Commissioners Court.  Oh yea, and Trump has demonized voting by mail.  It is not about safety anymore.  It’s back to voter suppression.

Take it from my experience.  Not everyone is going to fill out and return the mail application.    There are still a lot of folks who want to vote in person.  There will be some who may want to play it safe and say, “why risk it”, and return an application.

This about face by the Secretary of State is being driven by voter suppression pure and simple.  It contradicts their own April 2 Election Advisory.  It is not the attitude they had when they told me a few months ago that our mail ballot application we asked them to review looked “fine” to them.

The bright side to all of this is Mr. Ingram still hasn’t produced the part of the Election Code that will be violated if the Harris County Clerk proceeds with sending out the mail ballot applications.   Mail them, please.

Meanwhile, Donald Trump and his folks are encouraging violence in streets across  the cities and saying that is what the USA will look like under Joe Biden.  Huh? They have also formally declared that they want Putin and Russia to help them steal the election.  This is your corrupt GOP and they don’t even deny this tragic fact.

On the subject of changing the topic big time, Commentary was thinking about MLB records set in the modern era that probably will never be broken.  Here they are:

Johnny Vander Meer’s back-to-back no-nos in 1938.

Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak in 1941.

Cal Ripken Jr.’s 2,632 straight games played.

Ichiro’s 262 hits in 2004.

Nolan Ryan’s career 5,714 strikeouts, 2,795 walks and 7 no-nos.

Rickey Henderson’s 1,406 career steals and 130 steals in 1982.

Hack Wilson’s 191 RBIs in 1930.

Chief Wilson’s 36 triples in 1912.

Barry Bonds’ 232 walks in 2004.

Babe Ruth’s 177 runs scored in 1921.

Pete Rose’s career 15,890 plate appearances and 4,256 hits.

Hank Aaron’s 6,856 career total bases.

I will add one to the list tomorrow that I am sure will kind of blow you away.

I was watching Friday evening when the Astros and A’s decided not to play.  That was pretty powerful it being Jackie Robinson Day.

Then later on we sadly found out about the death of Chadwick Boseman who played Jacking Robinson in “42.” Wow.  That was a shock.

It was an emotional evening.

We swept the doubleheader Saturday and yesterday’s game was postponed thanks to someone in the A’s organization who tested positive.

We have today off.

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