Monday, September 18, 2017

Citizen Activists catch government with pants down; Government backs off....

"A faithful witness does not lie,
But a false witness will utter lies."
Proverbs 14:5

[Note: Pressley has more on today's hearing here.]

We caught the tail end of a public Secretary of State hearing this morning that illustrates both bureaucratic mendacity and the ability of an engaged citizenry to get the bureaucracy in question to back down.

This past spring, election integrity activist (and former #atxcouncil candidate) Laura Pressley joined with a voting machine vendor to ask the Texas Secretary of State's office (which oversees elections) to permit county election officials to purchase voting machines that would leave create a verifiable paper trail.

When the proposed rule was announced in July, it included a provision that would have significantly weakened provisions requiring 'audit logs' for electronic voting machines.  This would have had the effect of gutting the effort to create a verifiable paper trail for future elections.  Fortunately, Pressley caught the proposed change while reviewing the Texas register (where proposed regulatory changes are first announced to the public).

The bureaucrats in the Secretary of State's office claimed that the petition they received from a different group of bureaucrats elsewhere in the Sec'y of States office was requesting the rule change under consideration; both Pressley and the vendor disputed that account and stated that they only requested the paper trail provision.  At best, it appears that one group of bureaucrats in the Secretary of State's office isn't communicating with a second group of bureaucrats in the Secretary of State's office.  Fortunately, the Secretary of State's office backed down and agreed to drop the 'audit log' provision.

We haven't been in particularly close contact with Pressley (outside of seeing her at occasional social functions) for about a year.  Thus we walked into today's hearing cold, with no knowledge of the specific issue that led to today's hearing.  Furthermore, we were 40 minutes late today.

Coming into today's hearing cold led us to observe body language and vocal tone much more closely than we would normally.  We were struck by the amount of passive-aggressive lawyer talk used by the bureaucrats, while they attempted to shift blame to other folks in the Secretary of State's office.  Pressley, by contrast, had a calm and reasonable demeanor throughout.

Bottom Line: The good guys won one!!!

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