Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Battle for the Ballots

The Rio Grande Valley's newest alternative media outlet, The Paper of South Texas, has its second issue out on the streets. (DISCLOSURE: I'm doing freelance editing for the publication.) This week, The Paper takes a look at politiqueras and how they browbeat votes out of the elderly.

Thanks to increased scrutiny of easily manipulated mail-in-ballots after the indictment of some political workers, politiqueras are taking a new approach to extracting votes, The Paper says:

In order to fill the mail-in ballot gap, politiqueras and the politicians who pay them are putting most of their resources into early voting at election sites - a technique that requires rental cars, precise mapping of political subdivisions, and big, big campaign budgets, explained Carmen De Leon, a political organizer and notary public in south McAllen who serves as a magnet for complaints of voter fraud.

The losers remain the elderly, and democracy itself, according to De Leon.“These elections are so dirty, it’s really just pathetic,” said De Leon - a person who has been involved with grassroot political campaigns most of her life and who has seen the development of the politiquera system throughout its four-decade history.

The result: manipulative campaign workers guiding clueless senior citizens to the polls, where they vote according to the politiqueras' orders. As I said yesterday, this blatant manipulation needs to stop. Perhaps advocacy groups like Proyecto Libertad, GRUPO Poder and others could send some members to keep an eye on thuggish behavior at polling places.

Elsewhere in this week's issue, The Paper endorses candidates in the upcoming election, earning some props over on state Rep. Aaron Peña's blog:
What proved to me that the folks over at The Paper were really serious is that their second edition has actual endorsements from their editorial board. That was refreshing and proved to me that these folks were not going to take the easy road. Look, because of the serious and personal nature of South Texas politics, the safer bet would be to stay away from endorsements, this is dangerous and uncharted territory.
Also in this issue: Is the Valley ready for The Vagina Monologues? Some RGV media outlets are a little uncomfortable listing that title in their events calendars.


Post a Comment

<< Home