Please join us. Unless otherwise noted, meetings are held at 6:30 PM on the 2nd Tuesday of each month at the West Texas Training Center (Howard College), 3501 N. US Highway 67, San Angelo 76905
FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY INDEX
The Fiscal Responsibility Index is a measurement of how lawmakers perform on size and role of government issues. Texans for Fiscal Responsibility uses exemplar votes on core budget and free enterprise issues that demonstrate legislators’ governing philosophy.
The public — including lawmakers — are notified in advance of TFR’s position on the issues to be rated, and prior to votes taken on the floor.
See how your representatives scored: https://index.empowertexans.com/
Do you understand what the Electoral College is?
Or how it works?
Or why America uses it to elect its presidents instead of just using a straight popular vote? https://youtu.be/V6s7jB6-GoU
KrisAnne Hall is an attorney and former prosecutor, fired after teaching the Constitution to TEA Party groups – she would not sacrifice liberty for a paycheck. She is a disabled veteran of the US Army, a Russian linguist, a mother, pastor’s wife and a patriot. She now travels the country and teaches the Constitution and the history that gave us our founding documents. KrisAnne Hall does not just teach the Constitution, she lays the foundations that show how reliable and relevant our founding documents are today. She presents the “genealogy” of the Constitution – the 700 year history and five foundation documents that are the very roots of American Liberty.
“ALL POLITICAL POWER IS INHERENT IN THE PEOPLE, AND ALL FREE GOVERNMENTS ARE FOUNDED ON THEIR AUTHORITY, AND INSTITUTED FOR THEIR BENEFIT.”
(Texas Constitution Article 1, Section 2)
An omnibus election integrity bill introduced in the Texas Senate this week takes aim at mail ballot voter fraud, the most common form of vote stealing.
Senate Bill 9, authored by State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola), targets holes in voting processes—including voting by mail—that Hughes says bad actors can exploit to alter the outcome of elections, especially at the local level.
Hughes told the Senate State Affairs Committee on Monday his bill addresses weaknesses in the electoral system exposed by a special election security panel he chaired last year. In a hearing last February, state and local officials told Hughes and other lawmakers that mail ballot fraud “is by far the biggest problem that we see across the state” and mail ballots are “the wild West of voter fraud.”
Omar Escobar, district attorney for Starr, Jim Hogg, and Duval counties in South Texas, spoke at last year’s election security hearing and was back in Austin Monday to testify in favor of SB 9.
Escobar told the Senate committee voting by mail has become more prevalent because paid political campaign workers advise voters they can choose to “vote from the convenience of their own homes” by requesting a mail ballot. That arrangement is equally convenient for the campaign workers—known in South Texas as politiqueras—who harvest mail ballot applications with the intent of later “assisting” voters with their ballots, away from the watchful eyes of election officials.
But not all voters are eligible to vote by mail. Under Texas law, voters may cast mail ballots only if they are out of the county during an election, in jail, age 65 or older, or disabled.
Despite the rules, dishonest politiqueras submit fraudulent applications for ineligible voters by simply checking the “disability” box on the forms, usually without the voters’ knowledge. The politiqueras are confident they can get away with the fraud, Escobar said, because election officials can’t ask for verification of a voter’s disability.
Because of this loophole, as many as nine out of 10 voters in Starr County who claimed a disability on their ballot-by-mail applications were not disabled under Texas law, Escobar said.
But he said the mail ballot cheating began to decrease the moment they began to investigate.
Under laws passed last session to crack down on mail ballot fraud—which outlawed submitting applications without voters’ consent, criminalized organized vote harvesting, and strengthened penalties for several offenses—Escobar and other law enforcement agencies began a voter fraud investigation in Starr County in January 2018 that quickly resulted in the arrests of three politiqueras charged with illegally harvesting mail ballot applications. Another woman, who assisted over 200 mail ballot voters in Starr County’s 2018 Democratic primary, was arrested twice in two weeks on multiple voter fraud charges.
Starr County Special Crimes Unit Commander Robert Caples, whose team was on the ground investigating the fraud cases, also testified Monday in favor of SB 9. Caples said they found voters were being misinformed and manipulated by paid campaign workers. “Assisted” voters questioned by SCU investigators confirmed they were not disabled and had no idea politiqueras had marked their mail ballot applications with the disability indication.
“In every single case I saw, none of the voters actually filled out the ballot applications, just signed their names to them,” Caples said. “Every single one of them was illegitimate. One hundred percent.”
Escobar said in the November 2018 general election, Starr County officials noticed a decrease in mail ballot voting but not the overall voting numbers. Their enforcement efforts “didn’t affect voter turnout at all,” he said, but “weeded out a lot of the false applications.”
Yet voting fraud remains a problem in Starr County, he warned, as cheaters change their focus from mail-in voting to assisted voting at the polls. The DA said campaign workers have become more aggressive in approaching voters outside polling places and asking if they need assistance. As a result, about one of every five voters claimed they “needed assistance” at the polls in November, he said. Again, election officials can’t ask for verification of a voter’s need for assistance, which by law is for voters who cannot read or physically make selections on their ballot.
“Assisted voting, like mail-in voting, has been commercialized,” Escobar said. “It’s a business.”
Escobar is not the only prosecutor calling for greater security in voting by mail. Bee County District Attorney and former State Rep. Jose Aliseda goes a step further, saying the process has been so corrupted that the only solution is to abolish mail-in voting.
SB 9 doesn’t impose any new limits on who can vote by mail; it simply seeks to verify mail ballot voters’ eligibility and discourage cheating. It also targets illegal assistance, both with mail ballots and at the polls.
Under the bill, voters claiming disability on their applications to vote by mail would sign a specific statement affirming their eligibility. It would require more documentation from people who assist voters with their ballots and allow watchers observing the ballot verification process to inspect those documents.
Hughes’ bill also adds voter registration protections, authorizing the secretary of state to fully participate in the interstate voter registration crosscheck program.
The bill would extend the window for prosecuting election felonies from two to five years, aid enforcement efforts, and upgrade offenses of unlawfully assisting a voter and providing false information on a registration application to state jail felonies.
Escobar asked Hughes to consider adding an enforcement provision that would allow authorities to proactively prevent fraud before it happens.
SB 9 is awaiting further action by the Senate State Affairs Committee, as are several other election integrity bills filed by Hughes that have yet to be scheduled for hearings.
Texans who are ready to close the loopholes, curb illegal voting practices, and secure their elections against cheating should encourage state lawmakers to act promptly on these bills.
Local Government Meetings
San Angelo City Council Meetings
The City Council meets twice a month. Meetings are open to the public and are held on the first and third Tuesday of the month at 8:30 a.m. at the McNease Convention Center, 501 Rio Concho Drive.
Tom Green County Commissioners
The Commissioners meet every Tuesday, 8:30 a.m., 113 West Beauregard Blvd., 2nd floor of the Edd B. Keyes Building
Pre-agenda work sessions are held on the second Monday of each month and regular meetings on the third Monday of each month. All meetings begin at 5:30 p.m in the Administrative Building Boardroom, 1621 University Avenue.
Regular School Board Meetings are held the second Tuesday or Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Wall ISD Administration Building, 8065 Loop 570, Wall.
Grape Creek ISD
Board of Education meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday of each month in the community room at the Administration Building, 8207 U.S. Hwy. 87 North.
Hillsdale College Online Courses
That’s why Hillsdale has become a national leader in free online courses. In fact, we average more than 1,000 enrollments per day across all our courses. And our most popular course—“Constitution 101”—now has more than 800,000 students around the world.
You’ll study with the same Hillsdale faculty who teach on our campus. It’s a great way to experience aspects of Hillsdale’s Core Curriculum, as well as learn from some of today’s best teacher-scholars in the fields of politics, history, economics, and English.
A Project of TPPEC (Tea Party Patriots of Eastland
County) We all like and need encouraging words
— public servants included. We at The Grateful
Texan want sending those encouraging words to
be easy, fun, and highly effective.
Our Mission: Encourage and support liberty-minded officials, especially at the State level, to hold fast to conservative, Constitutional principles with integrity.
What we do: Equip ordinary citizens – us – to send positive, timely appreciation to public servants who act with integrity and conservative principles.