Precinct 333

Monday, February 07, 2005

All he Wanted Was A Fair Count

The dispute over a Houston area election for state representative is over. Republican Representative Talmadge Heflin withdrew his challenge to the election of Democrat Hubert Vo to represent District 149.

Vo joined Heflin at the conclusion of the afternoon news conference at which Heflin announced his decision. The two shook hands, and Vo said he would seek counsel from the veteran lawmaker on issues in the southwest Houston district.

Heflin's challenge was scheduled to go to a special House committee on Tuesday. He withdrew hours after state Rep. Will Hartnett, R-Dallas, issued a report to the committee saying Vo won the election by at least 16 votes.

Hartnett also concluded that Heflin had produced "no evidence of any intentional voter fraud'' that would have affected his Nov. 2 loss to Vo in District 149. Vo won then by 33 votes.

"We didn't have the data to meet the hurdle," Heflin said of his effort to convince Hartnett and the House that the participation of ineligible voters put the result of the election in doubt. "When you see that you can't meet a criteria that is thrust upon you, it makes no sense to move ahead."

I think the key here is that there was no intentional fraud. While Vo may have benefitted from illegally cast votes, there was no organized attempt to undermine the process. Will Hartnett set a very high standard of proof for Heflin, one that couldn't be met without compelling folks to reveal their votes under oath. So while voters from othr districts (othr counties, in fact) may have voted in the election, proving the impact of those votes is impossible. But the fact that Vo and his campaign were in no way involved in the casting of those illegal votes makes such a high standard proper.

Congratulations, Representative Vo. Do your job and do it well.

Best wishes, Representative heflin. You have my respect, sir, and I wish you well.


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