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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ciro Watch

Polls closed at 8pm EST/5pm PST. You can watch the results as they are posted here.

Kos is following the race closely, and Tracy Joan is live blogging over at Swing State Project. She is reporting that at 7:30 pm that:
According to Commissioner's Court sources in Webb County they are unable to report Early Voting because their systems are down.

Let's just hope Webb County doesn't wait to see the votes that they need to win before reporting. Locals claimed it has happened before.
In fact Webb County was a deciding factor in Cuellar's last win over Ciro:
An abnormally high number of voters in Webb County aged 90 years or older prompted an attorney for the Ciro Rodriguez congressional campaign to request an investigation by the Texas Secretary of State. During the first 4 days of early voting, 93 votes were cast by people 90 or over and 51 were 100 or older.

In a message addressed to Kim Thol, Programs Specialist for the Elections Division of the Secretary of State, Luis Vera requested “an immediate appointment for an inspector for Webb County.” Vera reminded Thol, “Webb County has a long history of allegations of voter fraud.” In the 2004 primary election, Vera added, “the fraud made national news.” He was referring to the controversial election between Henry Cuellar and Rodriguez in which ballots, “discovered” days after the polls closed, eventually swung the election to Cuellar by a narrow 58 votes.

Vera also requested an investigation by the Voter Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice.
Fasten ye olde seat belt.

Update: The Austin Statesman is reporting quite different totals from the Secretary of State site.

Update II: Tracy Joan says that "Two representatives from the AFL-CIO have been sent to Webb County to deal with the developments" (where they have touch screen voting).

Update III: Cuellar has a history of screwing around with Webb County voting. In the last election Ciro charged that 500 of the votes that put Cuellar over the top came from people who were registered in vacant addresses or homes where they did not live in Webb and Zapata counties -- including Cuellar's campaign manager, Colin Strother, who was registered at the address of Cuellar's parents.

From The San Antonio Express News, 2004:
The Cuellars, in an interview with a reporter Monday, said no one named Strother lives there.

Told of the allegation, Cuellar spokesman T.J. Connolly said that when Strother agreed to work on Cuellar's campaign, he was given a salary and the option to live in a rental property at Cuellar's parents' home.

Strother reportedly registered and voted at that address, although he has been living with his wife in another location outside of District 28 as part of her employment compensation. The two have been planning to relocate to the Cuellar residence, but furor over the campaign has kept them from doing so, Connolly said.

"He knew that's where he'd be residing long term," he said.
Well I'm convinced.

Update: Bowers is tracking the race over at MyDD.