Vote watchers fight back against Dem lawsuit
'Our clients simply will not be intimidated by such despicable tactics'
An organization that trained poll watchers and sent them into Texas neighborhood voting stations for the November mid-term elections is fighting back against a lawsuit filed by Democrat that was coordinated with an ethics complaint submitted by an organization linked to George Soros.
Officials with Liberty Institute today confirmed officials with King Street Patriots, a group of concerned Houston citizens, not only responded to the complaint filed by the Democrats, but they also filed a counterclaim against the political party.
WND reported at the time of the election that the citizens group was named in lawsuit by the Texas Democratic Party and also was named in a "coordinated" ethics complaint filed by Texans for Public Justice, which gets funding from the Soros-link Open Society Institute, said Liberty Institute.
The non-profit KSP is "made up of citizen volunteers dedicated to election integrity," but were targeted in the Democratic Party lawsuit "that falsely claims the group broke state prohibitions against corporate campaign contributions and that it should have to register as a political organization and even reveal donor records," the Institute revealed.
The Patriots now are asking that a judge rule some parts of the Texas Election Code that "run afoul" of the First Amendment unconstitutional, and dismiss the Democratic Party complaint with orders for the party to pay attorney fees.
"By using state law to try to silence citizens' political speech, the Texas Democratic Party has brought a political slapp (strategic lawsuit against public participation) lawsuit that has nothing to do with the rule of law and everything to do with political retribution," said KSP lead constitutional counsel James Bopp Jr., of the James Madison Center for Free Speech.
"Our clients simply will not be intimidated by such despicable tactics. The only allegation against them is that they exercised their rights under the First Amendment, and we expect the Texas courts to vindicate those rights," he said.
Although King Street Patriots is non-partisan, the group dedicated to keeping elections fair and free drew the ire of the Texas Democratic Party when members turned over to authorities questionable voter registrations in Harris County.
"It is outrageous that a group of American citizens who simply volunteered to get involved in the political process are forced into court by the Texas Democratic Party," said Kelly Shackelford, president and chief counsel of Liberty Institute, also representing KSP. "Using a political party to sue and attack citizens, and to try to reduce the Constitutional rights of all Americans, is a disgrace."
The offices of the Texas Democratic Party closed early today for staff "training," and officials could not be reached.
"Counter-plaintiffs are a group of concerned residents from the Houston area who simply decided to get involved in the political process," the court filing explains. "They exercised their First Amendment freedoms reasonably expecting that doing so would not lead to the threat of excessive fines and even criminal punishment. They now pray this court to vindicate their rights by declaring several provisions of the Texas Election Code … as contrary to the Constitution of the United States."
WND reported just before the election when the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed it would investigate Democrat complaints of "intimidation" by "white middle class" poll observers in minority precincts in Harris County. They were accused of "hovering" around voters.
That followed by only months a decision at the highest levels of the DOJ that the charges in a case against members of the New Black Panther party, caught on video swinging a baton in front of a Philadelphia polling station in 2008, mostly would be dropped.
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The situation in Houston erupted after workers with a volunteer organization called True the Vote investigated the work of a Houston Votes group and found that of the 25,000 voter registrations submitted, only 7,193 apparently were actually valid.
A video reveals Houston Votes project director Sean Caddle, who reportedly worked with Service Employees International Union, admitting that there could have been mistakes and "fraud" in signing up voters, including the case of a woman who was signed up to vote six times in a single day.
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