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https://www.austinchronicle.com/daily/news/2010-10-29/travis-gop-calls-debeauvoir-incompetent/

Travis GOP Calls DeBeauvoir Incompetent

By Lee Nichols, October 29, 2010, 5:26pm, Newsdesk

This morning, Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir put out a call for 100 more poll workers needed on Election Day (Nov. 2). This afternoon, the Travis County Republican Party issued a statement charging that the election worker shortage was evidence of incompetence, and called on DeBeauvoir to resign.

“The Travis County Republican Party would like to know how they find themselves in this predicament when we provided them with the names of over 350 Republicans willing to work the polls, most of them with training and experience as election clerks and judges, who were available and eager to work during the election, many of whom have not even been contacted by the Clerk’s office,” read the TCRP statement.

“We provided most of these names to the County Clerk months ago and they did not begin calling election judges until after the first of October, despite the fact that many of our clerks and judges had repeatedly contacted the Clerk’s office in person or by phone to try to get appointments,” TCRP continued.

“They also seem to have called all of the Democrat volunteers before contacting any Republicans and to have filled head judge positions with Democrats over Republicans when given the choice, including in some cases appointing Democrats from outside of Republican-leaning precincts ahead of more experienced Republican judges who have traditionally served those precincts.”

“Everyone just take a deep breath,” replied DeBeauvoir in a counter-statement.

“Presiding Judges and Alternate Judges from both the Democratic and Republican parties are appointed by the Commissioners Court from lists provided by those parties, with the Presiding Judge determined by the winner of the last gubernatorial election in that precinct,” wrote DeBeauvoir.

“The Travis County Republican party submitted a list of 132 names of potential workers to our office in July. Our recruiters began contacting those potential workers as soon as we received the list, leaving messages for those with whom we did not make immediate contact. Of those individuals, 50 did not return calls or indicated they did not want to participate in the election; 82 individuals agreed to serve as election judges and were hired.

“After not receiving return phone calls from the initial list submitted by TCRP, we informed party representatives, who provided us a second list of potential workers. Again, we contacted the phone numbers provided, leaving messages. The process was repeated for a third list.”

DeBeauvoir said last-minute vacancy-filling of this sort “is normal election activity.”

The Travis County Republican Party statement may be read in full here. The Travis County Clerk’s statement is reprinted below.

Everyone Just Take a Deep Breath

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir Statement Regarding Political Rhetoric and the Election Process

The practice of the County Clerk’s office has been to fully involve representatives of all political parties in every aspect of the election. I am disappointed in the comments that have been expressed by the Travis County Republican Party, which represent a degeneration in the level of civil discourse and friendly relations that we have worked hard to foster. I am also concerned because a conversation with the Chairwoman of the Republican Party last week suggested that things were going very well, and we agreed to work together to keep politics out of the election process. Some of the rumors we have heard contain such a lack of understanding of the law, we find it difficult to believe they actually came from the Republican Chair.

The facts of the matter are as follows. Presiding Judges and Alternate Judges from both the Democratic and Republican parties are appointed by the Commissioners Court from lists provided by those parties, with the Presiding Judge determined by the winner of the last gubernatorial election in that precinct. The Texas Election Code requires the parties to submit this information before August each year. If the parties fail to submit a list by the specified date, state law authorizes the office conducting the election to fill any remaining vacancies for election judges beginning 20 days prior to Election Day.

The Travis County Republican party submitted a list of 132 names of potential workers to our office in July. Our recruiters began contacting those potential workers as soon as we received the list, leaving messages for those with whom we did not make immediate contact. Of those individuals, 50 did not return calls or indicated they did not want to participate in the election; 82 individuals agreed to serve as election judges and were hired.

After not receiving return phone calls from the initial list submitted by TCRP, we informed party representatives, who provided us a second list of potential workers. Again, we contacted the phone numbers provided, leaving messages. The process was repeated for a third list.

We know that recruiting election workers is difficult. It takes about 1500 polling place workers to conduct this size of an election. The law requires election judges to appoint their clerks. When the election judge is unable to fill the number of clerk positions allotted to that precinct, the County Clerk’s Office steps in to help fill the remaining slots. We have a number of new judges this election, and when they arrived for training they told us they were having trouble recruiting clerks. That is when we made a public plea for additional workers. This is normal election activity. We have begun to receive calls from prospective workers, and we are confident that we will be able to quickly fill the remaining positions.

I have invited the participation of people from all political persuasions to participate fully in the election process since I was first elected County Clerk. I maintain an open-door policy at my office, and today I re-affirm my commitment to conducting elections with integrity, fairness and openness.

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