• Triston Mendez

Calling On The OAS To Send Emergency Election Monitors: Texas

First and foremost, I would just like to thank the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), for their efforts to monitor minority-heavy communities in 14 States during Super Tuesday, which was March 3rd. Included in LULAC’s report was the observation of “… sparse poll stations, lack of poll workers, and malfunctioning voting machines at stations in minority neighborhoods.” Additionally, LULAC’s national President Domingo Garcia issued the following statement “Latinos have become the largest minority voting bloc in 2020, and our community is at the heart of the voting base in States like California and Texas. Yet, it is precisely in the largest minority communities around the country –specifically districts where the Latino vote makes the difference – that we are witnessing the biggest barriers for people to vote.”

In LULAC’s reporting, they mention the Supreme Court (SC) case of Shelby County v. Holder (2013); here is a rundown of the case and what the SC’s decision means. The main argument of the case, was whether Sections 5 and 4(b) were constitutional or not; Section 5 “… prohibits eligible districts from enacting changes to their election laws and procedures without gaining official authorization; Section 4(b) “… defines the eligible districts as ones that had a voting test in place as of November 1, 1964 and less than 50% voter turnout for the 1964 presidential election.” Because the Constitution grants the power to regulate elections to the States (so long as they do not violate any Constitutional Amendments), ruling this SC case unconstitutional means there no longer is federal oversight over the regulation of elections; this gives the DNC jurisdiction over all changes to the Primary process, so long as they can prove the Constitution has not been violated. Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is no longer enforceable, making it more difficult for the federal government to hold States or the DNC accountable for taking actions to suppress voter turnout.

An argument made by Anti-Federalists, was that without Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1 of the US Constitution, “the federal government might attempt to manipulate the places elections took place to benefit ‘the wealthy and the well-born.’” This is very relevant to today because, if State divisions of a National organization (aka the state divisions of the DNC) answer to a National organization which is composed of a majority of “the wealthy and the well-born,” then how are these elections supposed to serve the interests of the people, when the very same people Anti-Federalists were fearful of, are still making up “the Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” as stated in Article 1, Section 4, Clause 1 of the US Constitution.

Let’s circle back to the efforts of LULAC, because they are putting in great work to ensure we have fair and transparent elections here in the Democratic Primary. Many independent media outlets have called the Texas elections fraudulent and evidence of voter suppression, including LULAC. LULAC recently filed a lawsuit against both the Secretary of State and Attorney General of Texas; alleged in the lawsuit, was “… that this is voter intimidation and voter suppression of primarily Latino voters,” because “every year, more than 50,000 Texans are naturalized and become U.S. citizens. The new voters usually vote at 90% levels.” On top of all that, the Texas election was handled so poorly, some voters had to wait until 1:30 IN THE MORNING, just to vote, waiting approximately 7 hours. Below, is an image of what Mother Jones reported in regards to the disaster that was Election Day in Texas.

Let’s now ask ourselves, WHY ON EARTH would it take people 7 hours just to exercise their basic, inalienable, human right to vote? Well, maybe it could be the targeting of Latinx/Black communities, “As Berman noted, Texas has closed 750 polling sites across the state since 2012, according to a recent report from the Leadership Conference Education Fund. A Guardian analysis based on the civil rights group's report ‘confirms what many activists have suspected: the places where the black and Latinx population is growing by the largest numbers have experienced the vast majority of the state's poll site closures.’” Additionally, if you look at the image below, Black and Latinx communities which GAINED THE MOST residents, had 508 MORE polling locations closed, DESPITE HAVING 2.49 MILLION MORE residents. Clearly, this was done by design, and we the people MUST call for The OAS to send emergency international election monitors to Texas.

This is the part where Shelby County v. Holder (2013) is most important, because again, States with a historical record of supporting voter suppression efforts, must have received approval from the Department of Justice to close down polling locations. The evidence is clear, voter suppression was centralized in America’s Latinx/Black communities in Texas. Closing down a number of polls without reasonable justification, and which seemingly targeted multiple groups of people (although implicit) based on their racial identity, is a clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The election in Texas should not only be held all over again (with competent staffing/competent distribution of resources/INCREASED number of polling locations), but the Texas hub of the DNC MUST be held accountable for implicitly suppressing the vote via means which violate the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Sadly, the story does not end there; according to AP News “discrepancies were found with thumb drives in 44 of the county’s scanner and tabulation machines located at the county’s 454 precincts;” these discrepancies were discovered in Dallas County, Texas.

Let’s move on to potential connections which could potentially provide proof, that the Texas DNC indeed did have a motive to suppress the vote of our marginalized communities in the State of Texas. Here is the list of Donors for the Texas DNC, to which I will try to identify those who donated within the the first 2 months before the Primary was held on March 3rd.

Chris Fadeff donated $10,000 on February 21st, 2020; his occupation was stated as “unemployed;” Chris Fadeff was employed (as Chief Operating Officer) by the Tom Steyer campaign, as stated in this article posted on the Steyer Campaign website on August 27th, 2019. If you didn’t think there was any suspicion behind this, here are the reasons why it is suspicious; Tom Steyer dropped out of the Primary race on February 29th, 2020, less than a week before Texas, A MONTH before Fadeff’s $10,000 donation; the article listing Steyer’s staff has been taken down; you can find it on the Wayback Machine, screen-shotted on March 2nd.

I could not find information on where Fadeff is currently working, but a woman with the Tom Steyer Campaign did post about her last day as an employee on the campaign (image below), which was 3 weeks ago, so how was she still employed, but apparently Fadeff was not employed, an entire month before Steyer even dropped out, on top of that, what unemployed person has $10,000 to donate to the Democratic Party in a State where they do not even live in? Maybe it was just a way for the Steyer Campaign to donate to the DNC without having it directly point back to Steyer. Maybe it is because, according to a Univision poll (reported by The Hill), Tom Steyer polled at 12% amongst Latin American voters in Nevada, but 1% nationally; Biden also polled at 21-22% among Latin American voters in Nevada and nationally; according to the PEW research Center, Texas has the second highest concentration of Latin American voters of any State, and 30% of the Texas population is comprised of Latin Americans. My theory is, Steyer may have tried to invest in the Texas DNC, in hopes that they would suppress the vote of the Latin American population, to give Biden a greater chance of winning more delegates.

The next donor to the Texas DNC is Reid Garrett Hoffman (who donated $10,000), LinkedIn co-founder who lives in California; he donated $1 million to The Frontier Fairness PAC, which supported Johnston for Colorado Governor in 2018. Although Hoffman is anti-Trump, all Corporate Democrats oppose Trump, just like how the Frontier Fairness Super PAC receives numerous donations from Elitist/Oligarchs. According to Colorado Politics, here are some of the people who donate to the Frontier Fairness Super PAC: Reed Hastings (Netflix co-founder/Facebook Board Member), David Ferguson (“a co-founder in 2012 of Perella Weinberg Partners who has spent three decades in private equity firms, including JP Morgan Chase), Teach for America (whose Board Members include Bloomberg’s daughter and Arthur Rock, founder of Intel).

That’s it for the donors I was able to find on the internet, however, there were a little more than half of the Texas DNC’s top donors who WERE NOT EVEN FROM TEXAS. A good deal of these people also listed professions that make those individuals appear as if they do not even make enough money to just throw it away, by donating to any group heavily involved in politics, such as artists, public school teachers, or unemployed people. If you look at Lobby disclosure reports, you can find this very same type of suspicious information on those forms submitted by lobby firms which clearly do not lobby politicians on behalf of the interests of working people. Nothing is adding up, and it shows clearly, that majority of the top donors to the Texas DNC do not have the interests of working people at heart, and you can see how there is a very likely chance that the closing of these polling places was a planned effort to undermine the voice of Latin Americans, especially those who voted for the first time and were proud to do so.