Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fact Checking Dr Laura Pressley’s Texas Electronic Voting Corruption Case


Dr. Laura Pressley has been making the rounds speaking to Texas conservative political clubs about her legal case against her opponent in the Austin City Council 2014 Runoff - claiming electronic voting corruption.
As a former volunteer for True the Vote, an election worker, currently a Republican member of Harris County Early Voting Ballot Board, and an active citizen at the Texas Legislature working to improve our Texas Election Code, I went to hear her presentation, ready to take notes on improvements needed in our election processes.



As I listened to her story and viewed her “evidence,” I realized that many of the claims and accusations she made were not consistent with my own experience working elections. So I explored a little deeper when I got home. 



I found so much evidence to refute her implications and allegations that I would need to write a book to cover it all. Because she changed her pleadings at least six times, it is too confusing to cover all her points. So I chose just five of her claims to offer a brief summary.  I am not an attorney so I am including links to documents from her lawsuit so you can read all the details for yourself to make up your own mind.

I am also including a very concerning “coincidence” that I found doing research on this case, because Texas conservatives deserve to know the WHOLE TRUTH.

Claim #1 – Dr. Pressley is a strong, active Republican 

When I heard her speak, Pressley claimed to be a Republican Precinct Chair and Delegate to the 2016 Texas State GOP Convention. Both are TRUE.

The Travis County GOP confirmed that she was appointed Chair of Precinct 140 to fill a vacancy on Feb. 9.  She was a delegate at the 2016 Texas GOP Convention in Dallas.

But……




Pressley has a Democrat voting history.  


She voted in the Democrat Primary in both 2012 and 2014.





According to the Austin Bulldog, “Pressley said she does not identify with any particular party, saying, “I’m not a Libertarian, I’m not a Democrat and I’m not a Republican. I’m an Independent, and I vote that way.”

Pressley’s campaign treasurer, Fidel Acevedo, is a strong Democrat.









Not only did he run for 





 he is a delegate 

to the 2016 
National Democratic Convention.




Pressley has made political donations to Democrats in both State and Federal elections.

Examples: John Kerry, Hillary Clinton,


ActBlue Texas, and  Capital Area Democrat Women.

 Full report: here

 Full report: here



Claim #2 – Pressley claims electronic ballot images are not stored according to Texas Law 

Texas Election Code (TEC) is divided into chapters, each covering a different election topic.

In her talk, Pressley quotes Chapter 52 covering paper ballots and then applies the same requirements to electronic ballots.

Pressley does not quote Chapter 124 covering electronic Voting System ballots or Chapter 129 covering Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) Voting Machines – the machines used in Harris and Travis Counties.

She also does not quote the Texas Secretary of State (SOS), the chief election officer of the State of Texas, who is responsible for legal interpretations of election law.

The SOS defines an electronic “ballot image” stored by our electronic voting system as “Electronically produced record of all votes cast by a single voter.”


Pressley doesn’t argue that the machines are not recording votes cast. She argues that the printout of the voter record is not a legal “ballot image” because basically it doesn’t look the same as a paper ballot. 


Claim #3 – Pressley claims a legal recount in Texas can’t be done in counties using electronic voting 

The Texas SOS outlines the procedure for a recount from votes cast on electronic voting machines.



Cast Vote Records (CVR), also called “ballot images,” are printed on paper – one per voter - then counted by hand.

Court records show Pressley admitted she was present at her runoff re-count. She personally observed all (aprox. 4000) CVRs printed, sorted and re-counted. She also admitted that she had poll watchers present. She even admitted that the Secretary of State’s Office had an observer present.

She also admitted that the Texas Secretary of State’s Office sent her a letter confirming their representative was present and that a legal recount did take place.

Yet, Pressley still claims a legal recount did NOT take place because of the same argument she used in #2. She doesn’t feel the CVR is a legal “ballot image,” therefore the recount was not legal.

She uses the same argument to claim in her talks that “4000 ballots are missing,” even though she witnessed about 4000 CVRs printed and re-counted.

Pressley argues the electronic “ballot images” as defined by the SOS don’t qualify as ballots, therefore  about 4000 ballots are actually “missing.”

Court records also show Pressley refused to agree that she had received letters from the Texas Secretary of State, even when the letters were on Texas Secretary of State letterhead, because, as Pressley argued, the Texas Secretary of State didn’t actually write the letters herself.


Claim #4 – Pressley claims Early Voting in Texas is corrupt because Zero Tapes are not printed 

During elections, before the poll opens, “ZERO TAPES” are printed to show, by INDIVIDUAL PRECINCT, “0” votes for each candidate on the ballot.

At the end of voting, Result Tapes are printed listing, by INDIVIDUAL PRECINCT, each candidate’s name and the number of votes each received. 



The image on the left shows the type of  machine used in Harris and Travis Counties.


The tape is similar to adding machine paper, only not as wide.


In her talk, Pressley shows a copy of a notice given to Travis County election workers stating, “DO NOT PRINT TAPES.” 



She implies in her talk that this is “corruption” and argues in her court case that it was illegal…even though the Texas SOS issued a waiver allowing a modified printing for Early Voting and countywide voting locations. (pilot program)

Why a waiver? Because when voters are allowed to vote at any polling location, and all candidate totals are printed by INDIVIDUAL PRECINCT, it would take so long to print, it would not be a feasible process.

I will use Harris County’s 2014 General Election as an example….

There were 200+ different races or propositions on our ballot and we had 1,069 precincts.

Estimating just 1 inch of tape to print the results per race…


How much time would that take?     Estimating 1 second per inch:


That is one reason WHY the SOS gives a waiver for printing full  tapes ON SITE during Early Voting or when countywide polling locations (pilot  program) are used.


Instead, a limited tape is printed on site and the numbers are reconciled with the other election records.

Zero and Result Tapes ARE produced, just in a different format and process. 

Court records show Travis County did produce Zero Tapes during Pressley's  election. 


Claim #5 – Pressley claims her charts prove mathematically that corruption occurred in her election

In her talk, Pressley showed the chart below on a large screen – as proof of corruption in her election. It charts the results of the general and runoff elections by candidate. Pressley implies the straight line formed by her election results shows, mathematically, that someone tampered with her election.

But, look at the chart more closely.

There were 18 precincts which voted in Pressley’s District 4 City Council race. Pressley chose to use only HALF in her chart – just 9 precincts - to chart a straight line. Yet, she used different amounts in the other charts.



But, I can do the same with the District 6 chart Pressley shows above. The one in the upper left hand side. If I remove some precincts, I can make a straight line with those results, too 



For REAL FACTS, to the left is the chart showing the results of ALL 18 precincts in Pressley’s race. 






As an extra test, I plotted Ted Cruz’s Republican Primary and runoff races in 2012, using  results from Pressley’s same 18 precincts.

Then I chose just 9 precincts (as Pressley had done) and was able to chart a straight line. It seems to indicate a voting pattern from the voters in those precincts rather than fraud. 

 Ted Cruz Results in Pressley's 18 Precincts
 Ted Cruz Results Using Only 9 Precincts






On the left, is my final test. 

I charted the results of all of 18 precincts which voted in Pressley's race in a different format.

The top represents Pressley’s races in 2014. 

The bottom shows the same 18 precincts in Ted Cruz’s Races in 2012.

 Both display a consistent pattern with a couple of expected variations. No extreme variations.
(Note: One precinct had from 0-5 voters per election. That is why the percentages are from 0-100.)




You can check the results for yourself at the links below:

Austin City Election Results 11/4/14: here
Austin City Runoff Results 12/16/14: here
Travis County GOP Primary Results 5/29/12: here
Travis County GOP Runoff Results 7/31/12: here

You can save time by using my Excell spreadsheet to produce your own charts: here


The judge didn't feel that Pressley produced the evidence needed to make her case of election corruption. I agree with the judge. But you can read the court documents below and decide for yourself.

Read Pressley's Sanction Order signed 7/23/15: Here
Read Pressley's Amended Final Judgement signed 7/23/15: here
Read Pressleys 4/16/15 Deposition: here
Read Pressley's Motion for Sanction Hearing report (Part 1) held 6/18/15: here
Read Pressley's Motion for Sanction Hearing report (Part 2) held 6/24/15: here



Something I read on page 216 of the 6/24/15 sanction hearing got me thinking when her opponent's attorney, Charles Herring, argued,
 "The case is really not about an election contest at all...it's really about that ballot image. It's really about her testimony, 'I prefer to have paper ballots.' That's why we are here. There's a place for them to go and it's the legislature. There's another place for them to go, the Secretary of State, and say, 'No, you need to stop this.' They don't do that. They come to court..."
My experience tells me that:

Paper ballots + courts = liberal agenda.

So I decided to dig a little deeper into Pressley's connections to the hand counted paper ballot people.

Is Pressley’s push for paper ballots just a coincidence?

Texas conservatives understand the importance of the November 2016 election. Not only to keep Texas RED, but to stop our runaway federal government.

Liberals know it, too. They try to block strong conservative voting laws in the Legislature. When they fail, they go to the courts to block implementation.

The current top three Liberal desires are:

  1. No photo ID to vote 
  2. Online voter registration 
  3. Return to paper ballots 




Photo ID for Voting Lawsuits

Without having to prove one’s identity before casting a vote, it is much easier for persons to
 “vote early, vote often.”   


That is why the liberals have been trying to get the Federal courts to stop Photo ID for voting in Texas before the 2016 Election. 


LULAC even  tweeted  it.


The lawsuit, Texas NAACP v. Steen (consolidated with Veasey v. Perry) was filed by a group led by the NAACP. You can read more about it: here.


Online Voter Registration Lawsuit

Registering to vote online, without any proof of identity, makes it much easier for fraudulent voter registrations to be filed.


A lawsuit was filed in Federal court by the Texas Civil Right Project on 3/14/2016. You can read more about it: here.

If you think this is not about using the federal courts to force Texas to move to online voter registration, just read the press release from the League of Women Voters:

“Texas adoption of online voter registration will end the confusion.”




Return to Paper Ballots Lawsuits

Stalin said it best. "It’s not who votes that counts,…it's who counts the votes!"

That is why Liberals have had an organized effort to return Texas to paper ballots (hand counted at the precinct level) since 2003.


In 2005, VoteRecue was organized in Austin focused on returning to hand-counted paper ballots.

In 2006, the NAACP filed an unsuccessful lawsuit against our Texas electronic voting machines. The suit traveled through the courts until 2009.  

Also in 2006, VoteRescue members, Abbe Waldman DeLozier and Vickie Karp, wrote the book, "Hacked! High Tech Election Theft In America,” attacking the reliability of electronic voting.

In 2007, Vote Rescue organized a state-wide coalition called, Texans for REAL Elections, which included:


In 2010, LULAC passed a resolution calling for hand counted paper ballots in all elections and…

A group in Austin released their own “election study” calling for hand counted paper ballots. 
That group included:


In 2014, Dr. Laura Pressley ran for office in Austin and consequently filed a lawsuit claiming she was harmed by electronic voting corruption in Travis County.

The Austin Chronicle reported that Pressley's attorney, David Rogers, said,
 "... previous challenges of that issue have failed for a lack of standing, and that a challenge by a defeated candidate 'who may have been harmed' by the process stands a better chance of being heard in court."
Could it be just coincidence that….???
  • Pressley testified that Abbe Waldman Delozier (VoteRecue & Hacked…) is her “friend” and was present at Pressley’s deposition and court hearing.
  • Pressley testified that her largest donor, Jenny Clark (VoteRescue), gave her “more than $10,000” for her lawsuit.
  • When asked in court how long he had known “the VoteRescue people,” Pressley’s attorney, David Rogers, replied, “Since 2006, … at a VoteRescue meeting.

Could it be just another coincidence that….???

 Full report: here

 Full report: here




Could it be simply more coincidence that….???

Nelson Linder, President of the NAACP Austin, who was a plaintiff in the 2006 lawsuit, was listed by Pressley as a “Key Leader supporting her campaign….and  on LinkedInPressley lists herself  as a member of Austin NAACP. 

Pressley served on a steering committee for Texans for Accountable Government (Texans for REAL Elections) and they endorsed her campaign. 




Could it be even more coincidence that …???

Pressley claims to have worked with Texas Eagle Forum the same year they issued a resolution for the Republican Platform stating,


 “the Republican Party of Texas urges that that all ballots in future elections be issued on paper ballots only.




And could it be just a remarkable coincidence that….???



After voting in the Democrat Primary in 2012 and 2014, Pressley voted in the 2016 Republican Primary which qualified her to be a delegate to the Texas GOP Convention, where a good portion of her effort was spent attempting to get a “return to paper ballots” plank into the Texas GOP Platform.


Read full article: here




All just coincidence?  You decide.

As for me. I am a fan of Gibbs on NCIS.
I tend to agree with his Rule #39 -

"There is no such thing as coincidence."




Colleen Vera
colleen@TexasTrashTalk.com


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Simpson or Ramos?


That is why the most important race for Harris County Republicans in the May 24th primary runoff will be the office of Harris County Republican Party Chair.

The County Party Chair is an UNPAID position with duties assigned by both the Legislature and the state party.

Some of the main responsibilities include:
  • Oversee county party operations 
  • Oversee county elections 
  • Get out the vote
  • Raise, manage, and report funds
  • Promote and grow the party
In short: Make sure Harris County stays RED !

The two candidates in the runoff for this important position are:

For the Primary, I participated in 20 minute interviews with each candidate for the Conservative Coalition of Harris County. Candidates also completed questionnaires that are still posted online for all voters to read.

But, to get a more complete comparison of these two candidates for the runoff, I sent each the following request through both their campaign websites and facebook pages.



“Can you please give me specifics on your experience as a precinct chair, an election worker, a delegate to SD and/or state conventions, and your history on county and/or state party committees?”

The result?

Rick Ramos did not reply by email or on FB.



In contrast, Paul Simpson replied on FB and emailed me the information below:





After a few days of extra research I put together the following comparison of the two candidates.

#1 Party Operations Experience

Overseeing county party operations is like being the CEO of a corporation. To be successful, you have to know the business inside and out.

A CEO does not do every function, but he must know what is supposed to be done in order to supervise and select the right people for each job.

The chart below compares the party experience of the two candidates who want to be our CEO.

Simpson has served for years on the precinct, county and state levels.

Apparently, Ramos has never even been a precinct chair.


Simpson
Ramos
Precinct Chair
X

HC GOP Officer
X

HC GOP Legal Counsel
X

HC GOP Committee Member
X

HC GOP Committee Chair
X

SD Delegate
X

SD Officer
X

SD Committee Member
X

SD Committee Chair
X

SD Chair
X

State Convention Delegate
X

State Convention Committee Member
X

HC GOP Chair
X


#2 Elections Experience

Some will say it doesn’t matter if Ramos has no experience with the Party. He can learn on the job.

Well, the Party can recover from the temporary chaos and disorganization caused by inexperienced leadership. But there is no “do over” when it comes to elections.

Below is a comparison of the candidates’ election experience from available records:


Simpson
Ramos
Poll Watcher
X

Election Clerk
X

Election Judge
X

Appoint Poll Watchers
X

Appoint Election Judges
X

Appoint Ballot Board
X


The County Chair takes office just 18 weeks before the polls open for early voting in our critical November 2016 Presidential Election.

He will have less than 3 weeks to organize his staff and party committees in order to recruit and submit his list of Republican judges and alternate judges to cover 40+ Early Voting locations and 800+ Election Day polls.

Soon after he will need to submit his list of Republican Ballot Board members.

The whole election process can be chaotic and overwhelming, even for the most experienced people. It is completely irresponsible to turn it over to someone who has apparently never even been an election clerk.

Our County Chair must have the experience to be ready on day one. There is no time for on the job training when it comes to this critical election.

3. Getting out the vote

Since 2002, both candidates have been registered to vote in Harris County.

Simpson has come out to vote 100% of the time.

Ramos has come out to vote only 36% of the time.

 Ramos Voting Record
 Simpson Voting Record










         View full record

Can we really put someone in charge of “getting out the Republican vote” that we can’t even trust to show up to vote himself?


Election
Simpson
Ramos
2014 General
X


Even worse, in the 2014 General Election when Abbott won in Harris County turning control of Early Voting over to the Republicans for the first time in years, Ramos did not even show up to vote!

Either he DID NOT KNOW the political importance of that race, or he DID NOT CARE if the Democrats maintained control of Early Voting in Harris County. Either reason should disqualify him from being in charge of elections for the Republican Party of Harris County in 2016.

In contrast, Simpson not only KNEW the political importance of that election, it was his first election as our County Chair. While Ramos didn’t even show up to vote, Simpson rallied Republican voters to the polls in order to win the Governor’s race in Harris County and gain control of Early Voting for the HCRP.

#4 – Raise, Manage and Report funds

It takes a lot of money to run a political party, especially in the largest county in Texas. Pretty much a constant fundraising effort.

Both candidates have run for office in the past, raised money, and filed campaign financial reports for those races.

Both have filed three campaign financial reports related to this particular race with the Texas Ethics Commission.
Those three current reports show:


Simpson
Ramos
Funds Raised
 216,712
0
In-Kind Contributions
11,885
0
Personal Loans
0
 25,227
 78,767*


227
                       
Simpson has reported both cash and in-kind contributions.

Ramos has reported ZERO. That’s right….ZERO. Not even $1.00 from his campaign treasurer or a family member.

How is Ramos going to raise enough funds to operate the county party if he can’t even raise $1.00 for his own campaign for County Chair?

Ramos’ only reported campaign funds came from two personal loans recorded on the SAME DAYS as his payments made to two separate pay-to-play” slates.

Campaign Expenditure
Ramos
Loan
Ramos
Paid
2/1/16  Terry Lowrey (Link Letter)
15,227
15,000
2/11/16 Texas Conservative Review*
                     *Note: Gary Polland
10,000
10,000
                                                                                                                            
Is that how Ramos will manage the Party’s funds? Keep little cash on hand requiring a rush to borrow money to pay bills?

Sounds more like the federal government than the Republican Party.

But much worse to me is comparing the details of their previous financial reporting.

Both submitted their first report with the TEC on 1/15/2010. I reviewed all the financial reports both candidates have submitted to the Texas Ethics Commission for all of their elections.

I found one instance of the same common error by both candidates – listing items on one form but forgetting to list the total on the report summary page.
But I found additional issues with Ramos’ campaign financial reports:


1. Current website expenses not reported. An online search shows Ramos’ campaign website was purchased by 512 New Media on 12-16-15

SamMaloneShow@yahoo.com was given as the email contact. Ramos did not report this as an expense or an in-kind donation. 

The website is also missing the required “paid for by” disclosure statements. 








2. 2010 judicial election reports:

I have served as a campaign treasurer. I know firsthand how easy it is to make a mistake even after trying to report everything perfectly.

But one common mistake is very different than multiple issues related to lack of attention to detail.

The County Chair is responsible for making sure the party funds and expenses are properly reported on both the state and federal levels. Errors can mean thousands of dollars in fines for the Party.

There is another concern I have after reviewing Ramos’ current campaign financial reports.

Ramos did not report one Republican club or organization fee, meal or donation during this campaign.

A candidate running for County Chair who has not attended or donated to ANY Republican club meeting or event? NOT ONE?

ZERO% club/event support is even worse than his 36% voting record.

#5 – Promote and Grow our Party / Push our Platform

To be an effective leader, you must lead by example. If you “say” one thing, but “do” something else, people turn away.

Family Values

Both candidates “say” they support and promote “family values.” Both “say” they support the entire GOP platform, including marriage between “one man and one woman.”

But what do they “do”?

Simpson has been married to the same woman for 30+ years.

Court records show Ramos’ first marriage was
one man +
one woman +
one mistress.

The grounds for the divorce are identified as "adultery by Ricardo Lazaro Ramos."

Ramos' divorce was final on Jan. 4, 2007.




His second wife, Chelsie Moerbe Ramos, posted
on her high school reunion website that they
were married on Feb. 14, 2007   and...


  ..."we are expecting our first child in the fall of 2007."


Even a comment posted online by a person claiming to have been in Ramos'  court when he served as an associate judge questioned his family values….

“…he has nooo room to judge! he had an affair with some lawyer, got her pregnant, and had the nerve to sit up in his chair and judge me??!...”


Promoter

Simpson’s weakness is Ramos’ strength – public speaking.

Simpson’s speeches are college lecture style – data, timelines, and the like. It usually goes something like, “this is the problem, these are the causes, and this our solution.”

In contrast, Ramos has a colorful childhood story about his nighttime boat trip from Cuba, and he tells it well. When he ads in his “love for America” and “saving us all from ISIS,” his impassioned speech is a great rah-rah moment.

However, there are many good public speakers in Harris County, but few of them are qualified to run HCRP.

The Duties

Going back and reviewing the major duties of the County Chair, and reviewing each candidate’s strengths, weaknesses, and experience  - the choice for me is a no-brainer.

Paul Simpson is the better choice for County Chair.


My advice for Rick Ramos

I personally think he should withdraw from this race for two reasons:

  1. He knows he is not qualified at this time to serve as County Chair. He needs to start by running for precinct chair, serving as an election judge, and chairing the Engagement Committee. After he has gained the knowledge and experience needed to be the Party Chair of the largest county in Texas, he should then come back and run for the office.
  2. He should put the Party first. He knows what an embarrassment it would be for the spokesman for Republican family values in Harris County to be an adulterer. The Democrats will have a field day and mock us every chance they get.


Action Plan

If you agree, you can contact Rick Ramos and encourage him to withdraw from this race before the 5:00pm deadline on March 16th.

Contact info:

Campaign Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/RamosForCountyChair/

Campaign Website link: http://ramosforcountychair.com/contact/

Office Number as published in the Link Letter:
                                 713-227-7383




Remember: “As goes Harris County…so goes Texas. 
                           As goes Texas…so goes the Nation

So take this election very seriously, and choose wisely.



Colleen Vera
colleen@TexasTrashTalk.com