Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A George-Soros-funded organization, aided by Texas U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat, apparently is trying to chase volunteer observers from precinct polling locations across Harris County, Texas, after the watchers found election judges and clerks allegedly voting for citizens who were undecided.
“Only a week into early voting, volunteer poll-watchers also are being verbally and physically harassed by people loitering at the polls with no intention to vote at the time, including a man identified as a reverend and Houston Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, who was seen inside the polling location electioneering and threatening to turn a poll-watcher’s name to the Department of Justice for voter intimidation,” said a statement from Liberty Institute.
The dispute has its roots in the bitter fight over elections that has developed in 2010, as Democrats both nationally and locally are feeling the sting of abandonment by voters who are enraged by the general takeover of society being pursued by President Obama.
WND reported just days ago when the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed it would investigate Democrat complaints of “intimidation” by “white middle-class” poll observers in minority precincts in Harris County. They were accused of “hovering” around voters.
That followed by only months a decision at the highest levels of the DOJ that the charges in a case against members of the New Black Panther Party, caught on video swinging a baton in front of a Philadelphia polling station in 2008, mostly would be dropped.
The situation in Houston erupted after workers with a volunteer organization called True the Vote investigated the work of a Houston Votes group and found that, of the 25,000 voter registrations submitted, only 7,193 apparently were actually valid.
A video reveals Houston Votes project director Sean Caddle, who reportedly worked with Service Employees International Union, admitting that there could have been mistakes and “fraud” in signing up voters, including the case of a woman who was signed up to vote six times in a single day.
Then a lawsuit was filed against the King Street Patriots, a group of volunteer poll-watchers, by the Texas Democratic Party, and a “coordinated” ethics complaint was filed by Texans for Public Justice, which gets funding from the Soros-linked Open Society Institute, according to officials with Liberty Institute.
Spokesman Kelly Shackelford of Liberty Institute told WND that the attack appears to be an attempt to rid the polling stations of outside observers who already have written up a long list of concerns about election judges telling people how to vote, shadowing voters as they cast their votes, and even “voting for people who did not know for whom they wanted to vote.”
“These lawsuits are exactly the kind of abusive disrespect for citizens that got our political leaders into trouble,” said Catherine Engelbrecht, chief of the King Street Patriots. “We will not be intimidated by partisan attacks, by the Democratic party or by anyone else.”
Shackelford said he has filed a response in court to the lawsuit by the Democrats, explaining that the claims largely are baseless.
“As a matter of law, corporations cannot sue individuals for defamation; this attack in baseless,” he said. “All these attacks are clearly an attempt to bully and silence a group of volunteer citizens who are just trying to keep the election process honest.
“This is pure desperation by a Democratic Party everyone knows is not doing so well.”
His office has seen complaints that poll watchers are being threatened, intimidated and abused, the report from Liberty Institute confirmed today.
The complaint over her actions was being forwarded to county election officials, Shackelford told WND:
Complaint about U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee
Jackson Lee declined to respond to WND’s request for comment, and a staff member said she considers allegations of voter intimidation very serious and that’s why she wants the Justice Department to be involved.
Shackelford told WND the King Street Patriots became concerned after the discovery of the “massive voter irregularity.” They decided to get training, find their own sponsors and watch the actions at the precinct polling locations.
He said among the reports that have come in were those that poll watchers saw election officials actually voting for some residents, and other election officials encouraging voters to pursue a straight party-line ticket.
Some of the observers, ordinary volunteers including housewives and others, “have been coming back in tears, completely shocked by the treatment they’ve received,” he said.
Shackelford warned that if it’s going on in one county, too, there undoubtedly would be other counties with election issues.
But he said the idea is spreading, and there probably are several dozen other organizations that have sprung up around the nation intent on watching out for and reporting any election-law violation or fraud.
At that time it was Gerry Birnberg, the Harris County Democratic chairman, who told reporters that a number of complaints had been submitted about poll watchers “hovering” over voters and “getting in their face.”
A spokeswoman for local U.S. attorney’s office said their team was playing no role in the review of events, but that the investigators from the DOJ headquarters in Washington were involved, and a spokesman in D.C. confirmed that for WND.
She described the involvement of the agency run by Attorney General Eric Holder as “looking into allegations of voter intimidation.”
“It may well be that these tea partiers (or other poll watchers, since it’s not clear who belongs to the group) are out of line in some of their behavior (not unlike Michelle Obama on her trip to the polls), and if so, they should be kicked out of the polling places and punished for whatever the problem is. But given that the case against them has been built and brought by the Texas Democratic Party, it’s at least worth considering what sort of collusion is going on and whether the problem is that there are poll watchers in certain locations, full stop.
“Obama’s politicized Justice Department has already lost all credibility when it comes to even-handed administration of justice on this matter. They let the Black Panthers off with one wrist-slap and two complete dismissals after their flagrant voter intimidation was caught on tape. Now they’re worried about poll watchers ‘talking to voters…’” he continued.
His reference to Michelle Obama was over the recent report, highlighted on the Drudge Report, about how she voted in Illinois, then let other voters take photographs with her.
“She was telling me how important it was to vote to keep her husband’s agenda going,” reported electrician Dennis Campbell.
But Drudge quoted a state law that prohibits electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place.
No problem, Drudge quoted a state board-of-elections official explaining, “You kind of have to drop the standard for the first lady, right? I mean, she’s pretty well liked and probably doesn’t know what she’s doing.”
As WND reported, the Justice Department originally brought the case against four armed men who witnesses say derided voters with catcalls of “white devil” and “cracker” and told voters they should prepare to be “ruled by the black man.”
One poll watcher called police after he reportedly saw one of the men brandishing a nightstick to threaten voters.
“As I walked up, they closed ranks, next to each other,” the witness told Fox News at the time. “So I walked directly in between them, went inside and found the poll watchers. They said they’d been here for about an hour. And they told us not to come outside because a black man is going to win this election no matter what.”
He said the man with a nightstick told him, “‘We’re tired of white supremacy,’ and he starts tapping the nightstick in his hand. At which point I said, ‘OK, we’re not going to get in a fistfight right here,’ and I called the police.”
Subsequently, former DOJ attorney J. Christian Adams testified before the U.S. Civil Rights Commission that the Voting Section of Attorney General Eric Holder’s organization is dominated by a “culture of hostility” toward bringing cases against blacks and other minorities who violate voting-rights laws.
Further, two other former U.S. Department of Justice attorneys later corroborated key elements of the explosive allegations by Adams.
One of Adams’ DOJ colleagues, former Voting Section trial attorney Hans A. von Spakovsky, told WND he saw Adams was being attacked in the media for lack of corroboration. He said he knew Adams was telling the truth, so he decided on his own to step forward.
It was Adams who had been ordered by his superiors to drop a case prosecutors already had won. When they were ordered to stop prosecution, Adams and the team of DOJ lawyers had already won the case by default because the New Black Panthers declined to defend themselves in court. At that point in the proceedings, the DOJ team was simply waiting for the judge to assign penalties against the New Black Panthers.