There was an item on the Commissioner's Court agenda today having to do with the early voting locations for the primary election in March.
This issue is 100% about the Pete Gallego race, though no one will say that out loud.
Both parties were present at today's meeting and there was a proposal put on the table to move the early voting location of Pavo Real to another location on the old Tigua reservation in Ysleta. That was a move by the local party to make a dent in voter turnout in the upcoming race for the 23rd district of Texas which will be a contest between Congressman Hurd and former Congressman Pete Gallego.
The Democratic Party was there, and they didn't say a word. They had the opportunity to go and advocate for Democrats in the valley and explain that moving the voting location would negatively affect voters in the area.
As someone who has spent a lot of time getting people to go out and vote, particularly in that area, Pavo Real is a vital polling location during early voting. Mostly because its been used as an early voting location for a long time. Voters are creatures of habit. If you looked at your own voting history on VAN you would see a pattern. You almost always vote early or you almost always vote on election day. And when you vote early, you almost always vote early in the same location.
Why? Because you are used to voting there and its familiar. Also, because you aren't going to drive around looking for another one.
There are very few times that anyone actually needs the local Democratic Party but this is one of them. They should at the very least argued that there wasn't a need to move the location.
Doesn't it strike anyone as odd that the GOP would suddenly take an interest in moving that location? Its not like they have a lot of GOP voters to help out in the valley by making a more convenient voting location for them. Most of their voters live on the westside or the northeast. Thats why those are the only places that elect Republicans in this town.
So if its not meant to help Republicans, it is meant to hurt Democrats, by changing the place that people normally go to for voting purposes. It is by the tightest of margins that TX 23 is decided and El Paso County's portion of the 23rd district of Texas is a factor in a presidential election cycle. So if you move the location to a place that voters aren't familiar with, then you knock off a few hundred, maybe even a couple thousand votes. At least for one election cycle until word gets out that of a new early voting location.
As Commissioner Leon said today, if people have to get back in their car they are just likely to go home.
The way you know that this is a voter suppression effort on the part of the El Paso Republican Party is the fact that they zeroed in on Pavo Real for closure. There are definitely voting sites that don't get a lot of traffic and at times there are huge disparities between early voting locations. But Pavo Real is a middle-of-the-pack site in terms of usage by voters. Its neither the most used location nor anywhere near the least used location.
In short, there is no argument to move it from a usage or spending perspective.
The only outcome that happens from moving the site from its current location is that fewer people in that area will vote. Which is what the El Paso GOP wants.
There is certainly no financial argument to be made both the current location and the proposed location are other public buildings. One is the City's and the other is the Feds.
This was the one movida the GOP had that could've impacted the election for the 23rd district and no one apparently saw it despite the Democratic Party having someone in the room.
Luckily Commissioner's Court decided not to move Pavo Real. The Judge and Commissioners Perez and Leon stopped it, but that could've been the turning point in what will undoubtedly be a very close congressional election.
That adage is true, elections have consequences.
Here's today's cat video: