In Texas statewide elections, Republicans do well in the relatively small rural counties while their Democratic counterparts dominate the larger urban counties–Harris, Dallas, Travis County(Austin) etc. This is such an entrenched political phenomenon in Texas that seasoned politicos have dubbed it–“Its the metroplexes stupid!!”. The phenomenon featured heavily in the 2016 presidential election where Trump dominated the rural Texas counties while Hillary Clinton posted huge numbers in the metroplexes, especially Harris County. Simply put, any statewide candidate that wins big in Harris, Dallas and Travis Counties inevitably wins the election.
It therefore goes without saying that Dem hopefuls Lupe Valdez (for Texas Governor) and Beto O’Rourke (for U.S. Senate) will have to contend with the “Its the metroplexes stupid!” hurdle. There is no question that Valdez’s and O’Rourke’s candidacies are crucial to the national Democratic Party not only because of the internal morale boost such wins will inevitably provide, but more importantly because of the aftershocks their wins may inflict on the Republican party. Simply put, if Dem Lupe Valdez is elected Texas Governor and Beto O’Rourke U.S. Senator from Texas, expect the GOP’s blind faith in President Trump to come to an abrupt end. There will be a lot of Republicans looking for a Trump alternative–an indirect win for the Dems
So how do Dems Lupe Valdez and Beto O’Rourke post huge numbers in Harris County? The reflexive answer is of course bringing out the vote—voter turnout. Turnout is obviously key to Dems winning. Yours Truly however suggests/highly recommends that this time in addition to seeking high voter turnout, the Dem candidates also focus heavily on voting machine security. After the Russian election interference in 2016, not doing so would amount to “campaign malpractice”. As Yours Truly pointed out in a previous post, Texas has somehow packed unverifiable voting machines in Dem strongholds. The biggest Dem stronghold is the populous Harris County where Obama posted huge numbers both in 2008 and 2012. Hillary Clinton also posted huge numbers in Harris County in 2016 beating Trump 54-41%(706,000 to 544000 votes). Big numbers in Harris County will be crucial to Lupe Valdez and Beto O’Rourke if they are to win statewide so the kind of voting machines used in Harris County must be of primary concern to their campaigns
According to the Harris County Clerk’s website, the county uses electronic (totally paperless) e-slate voting machines for county-wide voting. The County Clerk’s website has a picture of the e-slate machines and even a demo on how they are supposed to work.(give it a test run please)
Well it turns out that in 2017 Dan S. Wallach, a Computer Science Professor at Houston’s Rice University (an Ivy League school) wrote a piece in the Houston Chronicle attacking Harris County’s e-slate machines as easily hackable. That drew sharp responses from sitting Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart who defended the e-slate voting machines as hacker proof. The interesting back and forth between the Rice University Professor and the Harris County Clerk are all recorded in this MUST READ Houston Chronicle article. Yours Truly is not a Computer Science expert and therefore will not attempt to weigh in on the merits/demerits of the technical back and forth arguments between Professor Wallach and County Clerk Stanart, both of whom have extensive Computer Science/technology backgrounds. Instead Yours Truly will direct your attention to a revelation in the article that way back in 2011, way before TrumpRussia, Tarrant County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir(a Democrat) asked Professor Wallach to design a safe voting machine to replace e-slates which many considered unsafe and unreliable.
The article points out that Prof Wallach did indeed come up with STAR-Vote which apparently is not only much safer than e-slate machines in that it provides a paper trail, it is also cheaper. According to the article, Travis County was very receptive to STAR-Vote and immediately began taking steps to transition from e-slates. In stark contrast Republican County Clerk Stan Stanart of Harris County(according to article) was very dismissive of STAR-Vote and appears intent on using e-slate machines in Harris County even with the threat of Russian hacking. Yours Truly found County Clerk Stanart’s hostility towards STAR-Vote, a safer and cheaper alternative to e-slate machines very strange and will definitely inquire further as to why. Why would the Harris County Clerk vouch for unsafe and costlier e-slate voting machines? Folks these are questions TeamLupe and TeamBeto and the DNC for that matter need to start asking—fast!!
Rest assured folks that your Pulitzer-deserving Citizen Journalist will reignite this clash between Computer Scientist Wallach and Harris County Clerk Stanart so that Harris County voters are fully informed about the highly suspect e-slate machines before they head out to vote this November. Folks these are the issues the Mainstream Media should be focussed on ahead of Midterms 2018. Instead we’re inundated with Samantha Bee’s “c*unt” talk.
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