By Juan Montoya
Hold on to your mail-in ballot.
As if fraud involving voting by mail wasn't prevalent enough already, new laws going into effect this year will make it even easier to commit voter fraud and is being vigorously pursued by the Texas and Cameron County Democratic Party.
In a mail out sent to all precinct chairs, the Texas Democratic Party, it lets them know that beginning January 4th, 2014, seniors and the disabled will be able to complete a single application for all voting ballots for an entire year.
Those who request an Annual Ballot by Mail (ABBM) before February 21st will receive the Democratic
primary ballot, the Democratic runoff ballot, and the November general election ballot.
They will also also receive any special election or local ballots if the county clerk is the early voting clerk for that election.
"Finally, the application period is now January 4th through October 24th – which means we have almost ten months to get our seniors and disabled Texans to complete a mail-in ballot application," the letter states.
There are four groups who can vote by mail. They are:
1) those 65+ years of age;
2) the disabled
3) those who will be out of the county for the entire early vote period and election day;
4) or those in jail.
In the past, a voter must have submitted an application to vote by mail in writing to the Early Voting Clerk. His application could not be submitted until sixty days before each election. Campaigns and candidates had, in essence, about a 45 day period to get everyone signed up.
"Finally, the application period is now January 4th through October 24th – which means we have almost ten months to get our seniors and disabled Texans to complete a mail-in ballot application," it continues.
The Democratic Party is launching what it calls its ABBM Program for the 2014 election cycle which will include:
1) An online tool for voters in all four eligible groups (seniors, disabled, out-of-county, and jail) to print out a pre-populated application addressed to the correct early voting clerk for that individual voter.
2) An online tool for persons to print out applications for others (parents, grandparents, neighbors, college students, disabled friend or family members, etc.) which are pre-populated and addressed to the appropriate early voting clerk for that individual voter.
3) An online tool that prints out pre-populated forms for all seniors in a voting precinct for a volunteer to walk door-to-door to obtain signatures and mail applications into the clerk.
4) An aggressive mail program to seniors with pre-populated applications.
5) Technical assistance for any group, candidate or Party wishing to do their own local program.
The letter goes on to say that the new mail-in measures will result in a "tremendous cost savings in printing, lasering, and postage. Because this is a statewide project by the Texas Democratic Party, we can mail at a non-profit rate of .15 cents per piece saving five cents over regular postage rate.
Printing and lasering and production a two sided mailer becomes much more cost effective. An estimated
cost for grouped mail from lots of candidates and local groups is as follows:
If a candidate or county party wants to do 10,000 pieces and does it on their campaign it will likely cost around $11,700 to send. Now, if we get multiple candidates or county parties to buy into the program and we send one million pieces across Texas, the campaign who wants to send 10,000 pieces only spends $7,100 saving $4,600. At a minimum, you save some money, the more pieces that go out the higher the savings.
The timeline for the MArch primary is as follows:
1) March 4th Election: ballots must arrive on or before this date.
2) Feb. 21st: Last date a county clerk may receive a mail-in ballot application.
3) Feb. 19th: Estimated last date a voter should mail an application.
4) Feb. 1st: Targeted date for mail applications to be mailed.
5) Jan. 24th: Last date to join the TDP ABBM program to allow time for printing and lasering.
Currently, there is a join state-federal investigation into the massive mail-in fraud that took place during the 2014 primary and the runoff. So far, it has resulted in at least one conviction in federal court. Another politiquera pleaded guilty to mail-in fraud in state court in a mail-in voting fraud case.
Now that those who apply for the mail-in ballots to be sent to them automatically will make it much easier for politiqueras under the pay of candidates to simply collect the ballots at the voters' homes without having to go through the cumbersome process of applying for the main-in ballots.
Voting fraud just got easier.