Today the final Dan Neil Donna Howard election contest hearing will be held in the House Select Committee on Election Contests and both sides will present their case to the whole committee. The committee will meet at 1:00 PM or upon final adjournment/recess of the Texas House in room E1.010. The hearing is open to the public, although only invited testimony will be taken.
Following the conclusion of Dan Neil’s and Donna Howard’s presentations, the House Select Committee on Election Contests will meet in executive session to consider the cases made by both sides.
The case Dan Neil and his team will make is that five illegal votes, from suspended registrants who lived outside House District 48 and who did not comply with Texas Election Code §§ 63.001 and 63.0011, were counted resulted in Donna Howard’s victory. If these illegal votes were not counted then Dan Neil and his team claims they would of won the election by one vote on election night.
Dan Neil’s lawyers summarize the potential illegal voters below,
The five unregistered, out of district voters, all of whom testified they voted for Donna Howard, are:
- Mary Ann Rogers, who signed a Statement of Residence on Election Day listing her residence in Williamson County, yet voted in House District 48. In 2008, she purchased a home in Williamson County and declared it her homestead in 2009, receiving both homestead and over 65 property tax exemptions. She also changed her driver’s license in July 2010 to her Williamson County address.
- Harve Franks, who signed a Statement of Residence on Election Day listing her residence in Caldwell County, yet voted in House District 48. She testified that she does not own or rent a home in Travis County. While having her driver’s license and voter registration in Caldwell County, Ms Franks, a traveling musician, sometimes sleeps on friends’ couches in Austin.
- Taylor Acee, who moved out of House District 48 two years before the election and changed his residence three times in those two years. Mr. Acee did not fill out and sign a Statement of Residence, as required by law, listing his current residence at the time he voted.
- Mohamed Hanafi, who moved two and a half years before the election into another house district. Like Mr. Acee, Mr. Hanafi did not fill out and sign a Statement of Residence, as required by law, listing his current address at the time he voted.
- Lillie Hollingsworth, who moved in May, 2010 into House District 49. Like Mr. Acee and Mr. Hanafi, Ms. Hollingsworth did not fill out and sign a Statement of Residence, as required by law, listing her current address at the time she voted.
Along with letting five potentially illegal voters vote in the HB 48 election contest Neils lawyers claim that the Travis County elections officials disenfranchised 222 overseas voters, including active duty military personnel, from casting legal votes in the HD 48 election. Last but not least Neil’s lawyers claim the Travis County election officials improperly allowed 32 other suspended registrants to vote in the House District 48 election without filling out and signing a required Statement of Residence.
Underlying point here, your vote and civic participation actually counts and can make a major difference in politics and public policy. A former resident of HB 48 and fellow blogger Robbie Cooper contends that if he and his wife had not moved from HD 48 then they might of been able to swing the election to Neil. So if you see Robbie tell him this is all his fault that Neil lost, and that he should not of moved since his current Republican State Representative Paul Workman won handily and Neil needed Robbies votes and campaign help more!
Next time your apolitical friends say they don’t vote because their vote does not matter tell them about this case and how there would be no challenged election contest here if either side had gotten a couple dozen more votes that would of made irrelevant the potential illegal votes. Not to mention the fact that Neil is claiming he should of legally won the election by one vote.