by John F. Di Leo
Join us this week, as our young volunteer learns all about vote fraud in Texas…
“Awfully hot in here today, isn’t it, Pockets?” Pavel mopped his brow with a napkin as he collated literature for the week’s volunteering. “Dusty too…. Sorry, I don’t mean to complain.”
“No problem, Paully,” said Pockets, as he opened his window, carefully aiming it so the draft wouldn’t wreak havoc on the collating table. That’s all they’d need… for the Boss to walk in just as an open window blew a thousand leaflets all over the 51st ward headquarters. “That’s just the way these old boilers get the first few times they’re fired up in the fall. Won’t be so bad by the election, when we’ve had the heat on a few times. Besides, at least it’s not as hot as it got in Houston last month; now, that was a real inferno!”
“Houston?” the young volunteer perked up. Pavel Syerov, Jr. (Paul to his friends) put down his work and opened another frosty can of diet cola. “Doesn’t it ever cool down in Texas?”
“No, Paully, I’m not talking about the weather. Just looks like our friends down there might be gettin’ desperate as the election approaches? Maybe doin’ a little graspin’ at straws as the time runs out.” The old ward heeler sat back and sipped his beer, as his young charge perked up his ears. He could tell an interesting tale was about to begin.
“Yup, they must be gettin’ nervous down there in the Lone Star State; they’re getting caught all over the place these days…”
Pavel asked for specifics, and Pockets handed him an article he’d printed off the web that day. “Is the SEIU connected to vote fraud in Harris County, Texas?”
“It’s like this,” Pockets began, as Pavel opened up a bag of honey wheat pretzels and settled in for a lesson. “ACORN’s been very active in Texas for years, especially since Hurricane Katrina hit.”
“Katrina?” Pavel interrupted. “I thought Katrina did all its damage to Louisiana and Mississippi.”
Pockets smiled and pointed to his map… he found New Orleans, and started drawing arrows outward from it with his index finger. “Remember the huge exodus from New Orleans after the flooding?”
Not really, thought Pavel; I was barely twelve… but he nodded for Pockets to continue.
“Well, lots of ‘em settled in Houston for a couple years; and lots stayed there for good. And ACORN and the SEIU – or their recently renamed local affiliates – were there to register them all to vote. As often as possible, of course!”
Pavel nodded and kept munching his pretzels… as Pockets headed to the refrigerator for a beer. When he returned, he continued. “Texas is famous for really blatant vote fraud, though usually on a small scale in the old days. Back when Lyndon Johnson was running for the U.S. Senate in 1948, it looked close… really close… so one of his team changed the vote totals in Wells County, Texas. He just added exactly two hundred votes, to put LBJ over the top. LBJ won by 87 votes that day, if memory serves; the two hundred did it.”
“How do you know the two hundred were stolen, Pockets? Couldn’t Johnson have just done particularly well in that one county?”
Pockets chuckled and had a swig of his beer. “Oh, sure, he did well all right. Ballot Box 13 had two hundred more votes for LBJ at the end of the night than it had had when the polls closed… and those two hundred voters apparently voted in alphabetical order. Yeah, George Parr just used the old tried-and-true trick of going down the pollsheet and looking for names that hadn’t turned out to vote that day; and he didn’t even bother to mix up the order so it would be less noticeable! A simpler time. Oh, those were the days.”
“Was it prosecuted, Pockets? Did Parr go to jail?”
“In 1948? Having just elected his boss to the US Senate? Whadda you think?” Pockets smiled and reached for another pretzel before continuing. “Texas Rangers went in to check out Ballot Box 13, and they were too late. They found a bunch of thugs burning ballots and changing up the voting registrations. There was no way to make sense of it. Oh, they’d made a royal mess of it all right. The mighty Texas Rangers couldn’t stop LBJ’s boys!”
“So what about today, Pockets? What do they do now, down there? That’s a pretty Republican state; I can’t imagine there’s a lot of vote fraud in Texas nowadays!”
Pockets thought for a minute. “Remember that visit we paid to the nursing home a coupla months ago, Paully?” Pavel’s hesitant nod proved that he did. “Well, they do a version of that down there too, son. They have these folks they call ‘politiqueras,’ people who go around and get old and sick folks to cast mail-in absentee ballots. They go door to door, talk people into voting by mail, tell them how to vote, help them vote… oh heck, ya know… they often just vote for them outright. And sometimes they save ‘em all the bother and don’t even stop at their house, they just do it from headquarters. They know how the folks wanna vote; why bother them with all that paperwork. Cut out the middleman, I say!”
Pavel recalled the glassy stares of the poor wheelchair-bound residents of the nursing home he’d seen, and shuddered as he contemplated the odds that many of these over-medicated victims of Alzheimers and worse had any idea of what was being done in their names. “So they do that in Texas too, huh, Pockets?”
Pockets nodded with pride. “It works, son, no matter where you are. The best mark for any crime is the mark who doesn’t know he’s been victimized. He can’t prosecute, and if ya ask him if he voted, he’ll say ‘certainly!’ whether he remembers doing so or not!”
This jogged Pavel’s memory. He’d been reading John Fund’s book on vote fraud, “Stealing Elections,” which covered this peculiar permutation. He’d forgotten that was happening in Texas; he couldn’t square the existence of so much Democratic Party vote theft with a state he thought of as Republican.
“Those politiqueras, Pockets… do they pay for votes too?”
“You bet, Paully! And it isn’t nearly as expensive as you’d think! The poorer people are, the less they charge for an abstract thing like a vote. Heck, sometimes you can get a vote for just a coupla bucks down there. But the bloom is off the rose now, son. There’s been some prosecution lately.” Pockets shook his head, and polished off his beer.
At this, Pavel perked up. “The feds have awakened?”
Pockets chuckled, and said “No, no… not the feds… Gimme another grenade, Paully, wouldja?”
Pavel headed to the refrigerator for another longneck as Pockets continued. “No, Texas has had a coupla attorneys general who’ve prosecuted some of our folks. Dozens of cases these past several years. Hidalgo County down on the Mexican border, Harris County up by Houston, all over. All kinds of cases – vote buying, fraudulent registration, going too far with ‘voting assistance,’ helping thousands of illegal aliens to register and vote, knowingly registering felons and dead people, intentionally voting two or three or four times...”
Pockets stopped just long enough to gratefully accept the longneck from Pavel, and opened the bottle. “Yup, just about every mode there is… they do it all down in Texas, and they’ve been caught. Heck, one of the groups – Steve Caddle’s – was forced to fire almost thirty of their people for vote fraud. But all these prosecutions haven’t stopped our boys yet!” he added with pride. “They’re still making the most of it!”
Pavel asked if the now solidly Republican leadership of Texas had cracked down with any success.
“Not to speak of, Paully. Luckily for us, we can always make the usually charges – Those racist Republicans, always denying poor folks / black folks / Hispanic folks / old folks their constitutional rights. Works every time! So they back down. The Republican Party always backs down. The GOP can’t risk losing the seniors and the Hispanics, ya know. So we’re pretty safe, in the long term, down there.”
Pavel pointed to the article that had started the discussion and raised his eyebrows. “So… what’s the latest, Pockets?”
Pockets had another pretzel and washed it down before continuing. “You’ll love this, Paully… Last month, there was a massive fire in a Harris County warehouse – that’s Houston’s county, like Cook is for Chicago, ya know – and just about every voting machine in Houston was destroyed. Ten thousand of ‘em! Burned up. Totally demolished. So now they’ve gotta start from scratch and come up with a whole new way to vote, and to count the votes, in November. They’ve only got another month, Paully!”
Pavel asked “Why do you think this is good for us? Why would all those destroyed machines be any better for us than for the Republicans?”
Pockets put on a false show of being hurt. “Paully, aren’t I teaching you anything? What’s the best time for a judge to steal a vote on election day?” When Pavel couldn’t muster a guess, Pockets answered his own question: “When the other judges are distracted! When they can’t see ya do it! And if everybody’s all mixed up all day, trying to manage with an unfamiliar voting machine, a good judge can steal another vote every fifteen or twenty minutes, through most of the day. Or more, son, or more! As long as nobody is watching!”
“So you think it was arson, Pockets?”
Pockets contemplated. “Ya know, I think it probably was, but it can’t be proven. So far, they haven’t found any evidence of arson. Might be, might not be. Could be just the most fortuitous accidental fire in history!” he added as he had another swig of his beer.
“Why do you think they were nervous, Pockets? If the recent crackdown hadn’t really hit them all that hard…”
“Oh, I haven’t told you about the recent troubles, Paully. This is what has us all nervous. Not that we expect to win Texas, of course… that’s not in the cards… but we count on winning some congressional seats from Texas, and if our techniques are getting caught, or if our people are afraid to try ‘em, well then, we’re in trouble.”
Pavel asked him to elaborate, and after a good drink and a couple of pretzels, the old man did.
“Well, ya remember how all those New Orleans folks went to Texas after Katrina, right, Paully?”
“Well, ACORN, the SEIU, and their local allies, Texas Together and Houston Votes, have been registering people in Texas for years now… and they use all their usual methods. Sloppy, because they thought nobody’d look. (Can ya blame ‘em? Nobody ever does! Or, well, nobody ever usedta!)… They were caught turning in registrations saying people lived on empty lots. They had one halfway house with exactly eight beds, and forty people registered to it.”
“Maybe they slept in shifts, Pockets!” Pavel said with a smile.
Pockets snorted a laugh and needed a napkin before he could continue. “The biggest problem, the one that’s put them in the national news, was Houston Votes. See, it’s affiliated with the SEIU, so it’s the kind of group that reporters are paying attention to nowadays. They went too far, so they stood out. They turned in 25,000 registrations in 2008, all told.”
“Fantastic, Pockets! That’s a lot of Democrat voters!” Pavel seemed genuinely impressed.
“No, it’s a lot of registrations, Paully. Turned out there were under 7200 real new Democrat voters in that batch. The rest of the 25,000 were all our kinda voters. Ya know – the fictional kind.”
Pavel was astounded. “Did the system actually catch all those errors, Pockets?”
“No, no, you know better than that, Paully. The system’s not designed to catch errors; it’s designed to maximize their value! No, there was a watchdog group. Some independent group called True the Vote started paying attention in 2008, and they caught all those errors. The party hadda sharply reduce our expectations from Texas that year, because of the crackdown. Luckily, it was still a good year for us, of course, but Texas wasn’t nearly as good as it coulda been, because of that darn investigation. Threw out a lotta nice handy extra votes. Didn’t really need ‘em that year, but we coulda sure used’em this year, ya know?”
Pavel asked if this group was expected to be active this year as well.
“Sure ‘nuff, more’s the pity,” answered Pockets. “True the Vote… and this lady, Catherine Engelbrecht, for example… are pretty organized. Clever folks. They identified a tip-off – that if a single address has more than six voters registered in it, there’s probably fraud. I never even thoughta that myself, but it’s true. We get real addresses and add a bunch of names to them, because we figure it’s better than making the mistake of registering people to a non-existent address. But now they’re checking, maybe that won’t work anymore.”
“They’re only doing that in Texas, not Illinois though, right, Pockets?”
“True, true for now…” The old deputy committeeman continued his story. “So they check the addresses with more than six registered to each. And they’ll catch a lot of ‘em that way. Yeah, they’re working hard. Lucky for us they don’t do that sort of thing in every state.”
Pavel refilled the pretzel bowl, and asked Pockets if those tactics would work here in Illinois.
“Oh, sure, Paully. We do a lot of the same things everywhere, so it can be caught everywhere as well. Lucky for us they don’t, eh Paully?” Pockets took a pretzel and continued talking as he crunched. “Look at that six-plus registrant-per-address technique. We like to leave the old residents of a house or apartment on our pollsheets even after the new occupants move in, right Paully? Easier to vote them during the lulls if we know they don’t live there anymore so they won’t be coming in! And the same goes for college students who registered at the family home when they turned eighteen, but then moved away when they got jobs… and old folks who passed away… and divorced couples where one stayed and the other moved out…”
Pockets took another swig of his beer. “Yup, when the judges know which ones still live there and which ones don’t, it’s easy to vote on their behalf during a lull. And it doesn’t look suspicious like a fake address would. If the Republicans really wanted to stop us, they’d focus on cleaning up the rolls the same way that True the Vote does down in Texas. It’s effective. But lucky for us, the GOP usually likes to stick their heads in the sand, and just doesn’t concentrate on trying to stop us at all.”
Hmm… sounds like it’s high time the GOP started, Pavel thought to himself.
As Pavel headed home that evening, he thought about the millions of soldiers who’ve risked, and even given, their very lives to protect the American system over these two hundred thirty-some years… and he also thought about the revolutions and tumult of the last century in his family’s old country, deep behind the iron curtain, where they either had no elections at all, or just faced a single name and the threat of consequences if they didn’t willingly vote for that name. Pavel had been raised to respect the American system, and he was losing his innocence, learning so much about its flaws. He sure hoped that somehow, someday, he could help make a difference. But at seventeen, he couldn’t do anything yet. All he could do was study.
So he listened to Pockets at headquarters, and he went home, where he could continue reading John Fund’s excellent book, “Stealing Elections.” Pavel’s education continues.
Copyright 2010 John F. Di Leo
John F. Di Leo is a Chicago-based Customs broker and international trade compliance trainer, writing this week from Houston, Texas. He gratefully thanks patriotic Texans Johnny B. and Todd W. for their anecdotes, and compliments the excellent work of True the Vote in their efforts to clean up the Texas voting rolls.
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