ACCESSIBILITY, ACCOUNTABILITY & TRANSPARENCY:
The Old Classic Voting System in Texas!
By Roger Quannah Settler
The Watershed Election of 2020 (one of the weirdest years in history), now to be known as the election of chaos, has demonstrated what happens when traditions give way to madness and corruption. It was quite apparent that President Donald J. Trump won the election on Election Day, the third of November, as the Constitution specifies. However, we knew in advance that the scurrilous “mail-in ballot” phenomenon that came about due to the Wuhan Chinese Virus would skew the results to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden. As the counts gradually came in, it became apparent that unverified mail-in ballots were going to whittle away Trump’s lead in the various Battleground States until Biden pulled ahead.
Serious questions of voter fraud and manipulation have now surfaced. The rush to anoint Biden as the President-Elect is very premature. This didn’t happen in 2000 when the victor was not confirmed until 37 days after the election.
The summer events, including the Wuhan Chinese Virus, mobs, the destruction of American cities, rioting, looting, arson, assaults, murders… all led to the use of random “mail-in” ballots; meaning ballots mailed en masse to all those on registered voter rolls. This allowed the possibility, if not probability, of rampant fraud.
In the 1950s through the 1990s, Texas had a beautiful election system, with accessibility, accountability, and transparency. Hand Counted Paper Ballots [HCPB] were the norm, and many safeguards existed, which guaranteed the system’s integrity. In the 1970s, Secretary of State Bob Bullock, later Lieutenant Governor, fine-tuned the system. For purposes of clarity, I shall refer to this system as the Old Classic Voting System in Texas [OCVST], a Gold Standard, which, if implemented in Lubbock County, Texas, and the entire nation, would prevent elections of chaos.
Here in Lubbock, the system centered around the traditional Neighborhood Voting Precincts, which still exist today in the Party Executive Committees. Each Precinct had an elected Precinct Chair from both parties, selected in the party primaries in the Spring or Summer. These Precinct Chairs were accountable to their neighborhood voters. ACCOUNTABILITY.
The Chairs ran all of the elections and selected their own workers, usually neighborhood folks. The Chairs and workers came to know their voters and could spot illegal voters on sight. ACCESSIBILITY.
Locally, the first assault on this system was the ill-advised “Vote Centers,” which gutted the neighborhood concept and replaced the neighborhood familiarity with anonymous Election Judges and workers who don’t come from the neighborhoods but are hired by outside personnel agencies. So, a switch to NO ACCOUNTABILITY.
Then, the elected County Clerk was stripped of his/her responsibilities to manage and conduct elections, and an Elections Office was created. Dorothy Kennedy was named head of the Office, an unelected position. NO ACCOUNTABILITY. Although appointed by the Lubbock County Commissioners, a hands-off policy has been developed which prohibits any criticism or examination of the Office’s policies, replaced by a BLIND TRUST in Election Officials. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
No accountability leads to a lack of transparency.
On many occasions, Kennedy has denied candidates (like Precinct Chair Charles L. Clair), poll watchers, and me the right to observe vote counting. That is a lack of TRANSPARENCY. Threatening candidates, poll watchers, and observers with arrest and being escorted out of the counting room does NOT create faith in the vote-counting results, but quite the opposite.
The next assault on the system was the acquisition of Electronic Voting Machines. I shall never forget the Time Dorothy Kennedy told me that Lubbock County would buy these machines. When I asked why, Kennedy’s response was, “They are cool.”
Before the first machines were purchased, Kennedy had a seminar for interested parties to talk to potential “vendors” that manufactured the voting machines. I attended, as did Precinct Chair/Taxpayer Watchdog Mikel Ward. Five companies presented their wares. Four of them were quite impressive, and all had “paper trails,” a critical method of authenticating the validity of the election. The participants liked all four. The fifth was Hart Graphics. Hart’s representative hardly engaged the participants and seemed indifferent and uninterested in interchange. Perhaps he knew something we didn’t, because naturally Hart Graphics was picked as the vendor, counter to the seminar participants’ input. LACK OF TRANSPARENCY. Naturally, the Hart machines were the only ones to NOT have a “paper trail” and no authentication. BLIND TRUST.
Years later, when the machines were to be replaced, Mikel Ward, Margie Ceja, and I talked to County Commissioner Bill McCay about the question of electronic machines without a “paper trail.” When I explained to McCay the beauty of the OCVST, with all of its safeguards, he responded, “Roger, we are not going back to the DARK AGES.” “Dark Ages”?! Indeed… a neighborhood system with numerous safeguards and cross-checks, versus an unverifiable electronic system. ACCOUNTABILITY.
How were the paper ballots handled? Each voter was given a paper ballot, with a detachable stub in the upper corner. The ballot and the stub had matching numbers, which could be checked later. When the voter finished his/her ballot and put the ballot in the ballot box, the voter put the stub in another locked box, which could only be opened by the Sheriff. That way, votes could be checked later in the canvass or recounts. All voting materials were color-coded; in fact, my father was the one who suggested this to Bob Bullock at a meeting, and he implemented the idea. The Precinct Chair retained copies of all election forms. TRANSPARENCY.
The two most critical elements of the process were the ballot stubs and the signature rosters. The signature rosters were unique; they were in quadruplicate, and once filled out, could not be altered. I noticed right away that the new electronic system had signature rosters with peel-off stickers. Why? I immediately thought that these stickers could be a ready element for fraud. No copies, just the original… no copy for the Election Judge. LACK OF TRANSPARENCY and ACCOUNTABILITY. No one has explained why such a flimsy system replaced the quadruplicate forms and accompanying safeguards.
The next assault on the OCVST was the canvass. In the old days, Mikel Ward, former County Chair Jane Cansino, and I attended the old canvasses. We were given access to the signature rosters, the yellow turnout sheets, and all other election materials. We would often spend hours checking out the forms against each other, with the signature rosters being the key.
The final assault on the OCVST was early voting, something I have always maintained cheapens and vulgarizes the voting system. It is not dignified to vote in grocery stores, pizza parlors, mattress stores, or car dealerships. This year, Early Voting started a month before the election.
Speaking on Tucker Carlson’s show, Professor Victor Davis Hanson stated that once upon a time, Election Day had a certain majesty, the ultimate act a citizen can do in a Constitutional Republic [NOT a Democracy]. Old-time elections often reached their zenith in the final weeks of the campaigns, and candidates proved their mettle during that period.
Next month, I shall write about Ten Recommendations for a new voting system with safeguards.
WE CAN DO BETTER!
Submitted by Roger Quannah Settler, Lubbock, TX