If this election season has been confusing, little happened Tuesday night during the debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden to help clear things up.

At face value, the debate made things murkier.

Between trading barbs, neither candidate made much headway toward explaining his platform. Instead, the event ended up coming off more like a schoolyard shouting match than a presidential debate.

But the debate was not the only confusing thing.

For instance, the Texas Attorney General’s Office this week moved to kill a Republican group’s legal challenge to the state’s earlier-than-normal start of early voting, calling the lawsuit “deficient on its face.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office responded Monday to the lawsuit filed in the Texas Supreme Court last week by a group including Galveston County Judge Mark Henry, conservative activist Steven Hotze and Texas GOP Chairman Allen West, challenging the legality of the planned Oct. 13 start of early voting.

The state election code sets early voting to begin three weeks before Election Day, which would be Oct. 19 this year. Gov. Greg Abbott ordered polls to open a week earlier than that in effort to reduce crowding at polling places during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit argues that Abbott didn’t have the authority to make the change and should have called a special session of the legislature over the matter.

Less than three weeks before early voting begins in Texas, a U.S. district judge has blocked the state from eliminating straight-ticket voting as an option for people who go to the polls this November.

In a ruling issued late last week, U.S. District Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo cited the coronavirus pandemic, saying the elimination of the voting practice would “cause irreparable injury” to voters “by creating mass lines at the polls and increasing the amount of time voters are exposed to COVID-19.”

More recently, however, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled Marmolejo, which means Texans probably won’t be able to cast straight-ticket ballots after all.

Then there was the debate over mail-in voting between counties and the state and federal governments. Some counties, such as Harris, wanted to encourage mail-in. The state did not.

Then there was the question of whether the postal service could deliver the ballots from the voters to the governing body in time to be counted.

Abbott complicated that situation Thursday by ordering counties to operate only one location where wary voters could hand-deliver their mail-in ballots. Several counties had established more than one place for voters to hand in ballots.

Abbott argued he did so to prevent voter fraud.

Others will argue he did it in effort to reduce the number of ballots cast, which would work to the benefit of Republican candidates.

Whatever the motives behind various Republication actions aimed at limiting mail-in and early voting — whether it’s voter suppression or defense of state law or protecting the integrity of elections — one thing is true: Voter suppression can happen only if voters allow themselves to be suppressed.

Good Americans should not allow that. Instead, we should recall the blood, sweat and tears that went into the Voting Rights Act or into the 19th Amendment or go all the way back to the long winter at Valley Forge if that’s what it takes. But go vote, no matter what or who tries to stop you.

• Dave Mathews

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206; michael.smith@galvnews.com


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(36) comments

Carlos Ponce


Study the candidates, look at the sample ballot:


Study the candidates and issues, practice voting, write notes if you cannot remember your choices.

Look at the voting locations, select one convenient and a second/ third choice in case there is a line. With plenty of days to vote even without the extension there should be a time/location with small lines.



If you are worried about long lines DO NOT WAIT UNTIL ELECTION DAY!

Have your driver's license or acceptable alternative ready.

On voting days there were long lines at County West but two miles away there was little waiting time at the Santa Fe ISD Museum. Officials tried to direct them to the other location. Some did, most didn't want to lose their parking space![rolleyes]

With just a LITTLE planning, it won't be that bad. You'll be in and out in a few minutes.

Carlos Ponce

Frequently asked questions about voting:


This website is from 2016 and 2018 but should still be applicable.

Do I need a government-issued ID?

Can I bring my cell phone with me into the voting booth?

Can I wear clothing that features campaign slogans?

Can I bring my gun (with the appropriate license)?

Can I vote outside of the county where I live?

Is anyone allowed to enter the voting booth with me?

Can I take a picture inside a polling place?

What should I do if I think my rights are being infringed upon?

What should I do if I think I’m witnessing voter fraud?

Mike Zeller

It's been reported Trump has the “Wuhan Virus” or “China Virus”, whatever Carlos calls it.

Bill Cochrane

Mike, first, what has that got to do with voting? Second, the President has "Tested Positive". He has no symptoms and might not even get sick like many.

Mike Zeller

It was breaking news at 1 am when I posted it. Nothing more.

Bailey Jones

It's an absolute outrage. One drop off location for Harris County - 4.5 million people and as large as Rhode Island??? What else could this possibly be than an attempt to obstruct urban votes? If security is a real concern (it isn't), I suggest the governor call in the Texas Rangers. One Ranger, one drop box. That should be sufficient.

Republicans must have their Magic 8 Balls out - they can see that the future of Texas is blue.

Carlos Ponce

Not to worry, Bailey, there's more than one drop off box. Most call them Post Offices and Postal Collection boxes. There are 87 Post offices in Harris County, Texas alone. Add to that those big blue boxes for mail pick up. There are 199 Collection boxes in Harris County. Or they could always vote in person. There are 122 of voting locations in Harris County.

Your 4.5 million is misleading since in 2016 only 1.3 million voted in the presidential election, roughly 1/3 of the populace.

Harris County is known for voter fraud through ballot harvesting:





Bailey Jones

Wow - that's a lot of smoke Carlos. Where's the fire? Usually when someone with law enforcement ties has solid evidence that a crime is being committed people get arrested. Did I miss that? Or is this another one of your "wait and see" episodes. Oh wait, I know - there's massive fraud but the Democrat controlled city government won't do anything about it, and Republicans are helpless because Republicans aren't in power in Texas. Is that it? Or maybe it's all just political hooey and hearsay - I know how you object to people throwing around hearsay.

Sounds like someone needs to call in the Texas Rangers. I wonder why no one has? Voter fraud should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. You should call your governor, state rep, and congressman, and demand action!

Carlos Ponce

"Did I miss that? " It's been in the news, Bailey. Apparently you missed it.

Jim Forsythe

Drop off boxes are for the people that do not trust the USPS, and do not want to vote in person because of issues that they have.

Postal Collection boxes are for people that want to use the USPS. Why decrease the number of boxes, which makes it harder for people to vote.

Is it to decrease the number of Demarcate votes, or is it for some other reason? Harris County had 20 boxes because the know what the need is.

What is the punishment that CHARLES F. MARLER and MARK A. AGUIRRE accessed?

Have they even gone to court, or is it like other cases in Texas that fad away, when it comes time to prove that a illegal activity happened?

Carlos Ponce

"that do not trust the USPS"[scared] How dare they diss the USPS!

"Have they even gone to court,.." The affidavits were testimony provided to the Texas Supreme Court.

Jim Forsythe

If anyone believed what the Trump said about mail-in voting, they would not want to use the USPS. Now in Harris County some will have to drive over 50 miles one way, to get to a drop box. For some reason you, Carlos, want to make it harder for legal voters, to vote.

“We voted in World War I, we voted in World War II, and now we can’t vote anymore?” Trump said, calling the chaos that he predicts would ensue over universal mail-in ballots a “tremendous embarrassment for our country.”

“This is a very serious problem for our great democracy. This is a very, very serious problem and something has to be done about it,” Trump said.

The president went on to warn about “double voting,” saying people will “send in a ballot, and then they’ll go vote,” and questioned whether states would have the capacity to be able to safeguard the process.

“This will be the greatest catastrophe, one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of our country,” he said.

"The affidavits were testimony provided to the Texas Supreme Court." means that they are still Innocent. It they are ever proven guilty, that is different.

Carlos Ponce

Best to vote in person. I know many over 65 years of age who will vote in person rather than use the mail-in option available to them.

My brother on the other hand is in a nursing home. He will vote by mail.

Jim Forsythe

It's best to vote the way that fit your needs. In person, Curb side, vote by mail.

Carlos Ponce

I'll keep an eye out for those who vote "curbside" and reserve judgement. If any one of them pulls an election official out of the polling place and looks able bodied[rolleyes]-there may be an unseen factor involved. But I wonder, especially if they demand service sans mask from their car.[rolleyes][rolleyes] And if they pull up honking their horn demanding to be served....[rolleyes][rolleyes][rolleyes] I'm just glad there are GCSO parked in the parking lot.[beam]

Jim Forsythe

Please use curbside voting, if you need it. Do not let someone tell you that you should not use it, because they think that you do not qualify.

Carlos, in the past you have said you are not a worker at a polling site. Are you a official poll watcher, if not, you are not allowed to be involved in determining who should vote. If you try and keep someone from voting curbside, you will not be following state law and will have to answer to the Americans with Disabilities, for voter suppression.

Texas polling places are exempt from statewide orders requiring mask-wearing in public, for the needs of voters with disabilities . A car is the polling place for curbside voting.

On the voter's request, an election officer shall deliver a ballot to the voter at the polling place entrance or curb.

Sec. 64.009. VOTER UNABLE TO ENTER POLLING PLACE. (a) If a voter is physically unable to enter the polling place without personal assistance or likelihood of injuring the voter's health, on the voter's request, an election officer shall deliver a ballot to the voter at the polling place entrance or curb.

(b) The regular voting procedures may be modified by the election officer to the extent necessary to conduct voting under this section.

(c) After the voter is accepted for voting, the voter shall mark the ballot and give it to the election officer who shall deposit it in the ballot box.

(d) On the voter's request, a person accompanying the voter shall be permitted to select the voter's ballot and deposit the ballot in the ballot box.

Carlos Ponce

Jim, I will not stop anyone from voting nor will I tell anyone how to vote nor whom to vote for. But there are officials who will deal with anyone trying to finagle the system!

Jim Forsythe

How will curb side voters, finagle the system? How will the officials deal with anyone trying to finagle the system?

Voting curb side is a right. If you are a official, be careful about challenge anyone that wants to vote curb side. Carlos, you may want to look up what a official in Texas are allowed to ask curb side voters'.

In Texas officials' must follow this "You do not have to provide proof of your disability" as a voter.

For some reason you are against any way of voting that makes it easier for a individual to vote.

You have said, drop boxes are bad, voting by mail for all, is bad, curb side voting is bad, a extra week for early voting is bad, straight party voting is bad.

I'm for any why that we can reduce the lines at the polls. I know no one uses the one you are at, but most polling places will have long lines.

I do hope the lines are short, so there is less chance of someone being infected with Corona19 or some other problem such as the flu.

Carlos Ponce

"How will curb side voters, finagle the system?"

"You can't just drive up and call and say 'I'm out here.' It doesn't work that way. You must have a person with you in order to let that person go in and bring in your identification.

Your wait time could be a little longer when it comes to curbside voting. It takes TWO poll workers to handle the process. You could be waiting in your car until volunteers are free.

Then they would bring the voting machine out to you. But they have to do all that programming inside."

Curbside voting is meant for those who want to vote in person but are unable to get out of the car, Jefferson County Clerk Carolyn Guidry said.

But it's not meant for the masses. It's only available for those who qualify, but cannot physically walk into the polling location. [By the way, each polling place is ADA compliant.]


If curbside Jim drives up someone has to be with him. You just don't drive up and honk for service. You take out TWO poll workers. I'm sure someone might let your driving companion cut in line but don't count on it. In the meantime Curbside Jim sits in his car, waiting.

"How will the officials deal with anyone trying to finagle the system?" They will. There are "penalties" depending on the finagling.

Jim Forsythe

Curb side voting is not about how long it takes to vote, but the safety of the voter using curb side voting.

A person calls ahead to the county elections office, and lets them know that they will be voting curbside. It would be nice if polling place posted the phone number in the handy caped parking area. "TIP FOR VOTER WITH DISABILITY: If you plan to go alone to vote curbside, it is wise to call ahead so election officials will expect you." This will give the polling place a chance to have the voting materials ready. Unless instructed to do so, no one is going to honk a horn. It is not required to have a second person in the car. No one has to go inside and inform the workers they are outside, because they can call inside.

Below is just one of the reason a person qualifies to vote curb side. If a election official refuses to let someone use curb side voting, they must have a very good reason to do so. Remember the Americans with Disabilities act must be followed.

Being able to walk, does not disqualifies a person from using curb side voting.

This year with the threat of Corvid-19 , Texas's state’s director of elections, Keith Ingram, said the following.

“If a voter feels like they are symptomatic or may have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, we encourage them to utilize curbside voting,” the state’s director of elections, Keith Ingram, said. “Curbside voting allows a person to vote from their car and it’s available at all polling locations in the state of Texas for every election.”, Keith Ingram, said. “Curbside voting allows a person to vote from their car and it’s available at all polling locations in the state of Texas for every election.”

Carlos Ponce

"Curb side voting is not about how long it takes to vote,...." FUNNY! You complain about lengthy lines all the time!

Jim Forsythe

Curb side voting is for people that need to use it. In some case it may take longer, but in some case it will be faster. The way we vote is not about speed or we all would vote by mail.

As I said before: For some reason you are against any way of voting that makes it easier for a individual to vote. You have said, drop boxes are bad, voting by mail for all is bad, curb side voting is bad, a extra week for early voting is bad, straight party voting is bad.

Carlos Ponce

Mail in voting is for those who cannot walk out of a car to vote. As long as the number is limited to statutory limits - no problem. Ballots can be checked, signatures checked, etc. But mail in for everyone makes that hard to do. Notice that Blue states do it to maintain power. In Houston/Harris County there is reason why they went Blue. But there is now investigations into the offices of Rodney Ellis and Sheila Jackson Lee. I wonder what they'll find. Jim will say - NOTHING.

Jim Forsythe

We are talking about types of voting. Voters in just eight states need an excuse to obtain an absentee ballot.

As far as how long it takes to count ballots. If a states is setup right, they can have the mail in votes counted before the the in person votes are all counted. If a state selects not to start counting mail in votes until the polls close on November 3ed, they have no one to blame but themselves, for not have the vote total for the mail in ballots, right after the polls close on the 3ed.

Below is one example of a state being setup to count mail in ballots, and have the total within a half-hour of polls closing.

Florida lawmakers have encouraged elections officials to submit results as early as possible. Supervisors can begin counting mail ballots more than three weeks before Election Day, and are required to submit totals for mail ballots and in-person early voting — which runs for two weeks prior to Election Day — to the secretary of state within a half-hour of polls closing. Votes cast on Election Day at the polls must be submitted by 2 a.m.

Carlos Ponce

How delusional !

Jim Forsythe

Carlos, these are two actions Harris County is trying to make it easier to vote.

Harris County is hosting 10 drive-thru polling sites for the 2020 election. Stay in your cars while you vote. This is not curbside voting.

I hope a lot of people take advantage of this. On Thursday, Oct. 29, seven polling locations in the county(Harris) will be open for over 24 hours. 24-hour polling locations could make a huge difference in turnout.

Carlos Ponce

Ho Hum........ Ignore the corruption.

Jim Forsythe

Until they are found guilty, it is just speculation. It the same as saying Trump is guilty of all the things that he is accused of. Trump maybe guilty, but until he is found guilty, he is just accused. Below is info about Howley and Hotze . Howley and Hotze are not the most relivable people in the world, so attaching credence to what they say is not warranted. What Howley and Hotze say, has to be taken with a grain of salt. Until they are found guilty of what Howley and Hotze claim they did, it's warrants no further discussion.

The affidavits were filed as part of the class-action lawsuit against Harris County and the state of Texas, filed by citizens, called Steven Hotze, M.D. et al. Journalist Patrick Howley of NATIONAL FILE

Steven Hotze, a disreputable doctor who has a history of pushing “methods [that] are not supported by science and are potentially harmful” and sells bogus colloidal silver.

In 1999 the FDA got so sick of colloidal silver salesmen that it issued a statement declaring that "all over-the-counter products containing colloidal silver or silver salts are not recognized as safe and effective and are misbranded."

One of the reasons they're not entirely safe is that they carry the risk of argyria, a severe buildup of silver particles in the tissue that can turn your skin blue. Permanently.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (part of the National Institutes of Health) echoed the FDA in 2004, adding that other potential side effects include seizures and kidney damage.

But that did not deter Hotze from making extravagant claims about the colloidal silver he sells through his dietary supplement store, Physicians Preference. Hotze’s center promotes colloidal silver as a treatment, including for sinus infections and swine flu. His vitamins store sells colloidal silver under the name Argentyn 23, which is produced by Natural Immunogenic Corp.

Patrick Howley The Reporter Behind Those Disgusting Tweets Has A Weird, Sexist Sense Of Humor

Breitbart, the conservative news site, suspended reporter Patrick Howley for tweets questioning fellow Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields’ accusations that Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski “grabbed” and “yanked” her to the ground at a Tuesday press conference.

Carlos Ponce

"Until they are found guilty.." Wait and see.

Mike Zeller

100% Voter Suppression by the Texas Gop. Harris County has a larger population than all these States.

26 Kentucky 4,467,673 1.35%

27 Oregon 4,217,737 1.27%

28 Oklahoma 3,956,971 1.19%

29 Connecticut 3,565,287 1.07%

30 Utah 3,205,958 0.97%

31 Iowa 3,155,070 0.95%

32 Nevada 3,080,156 0.93%

33 Arkansas 3,017,825 0.91%

34 Mississippi 2,976,149 0.90%

35 Kansas 2,913,314 0.88%

36 New Mexico 2,096,829 0.63%

37 Nebraska 1,934,408 0.58%

38 West Virginia 1,792,147 0.54%

39 Idaho 1,787,065 0.54%

40 Hawaii 1,415,872 0.43%

41 New Hampshire 1,359,711 0.41%

42 Maine 1,344,212 0.41%

43 Montana 1,068,778 0.32%

44 Rhode Island 1,059,361 0.32%

45 Delaware 973,764 0.29%

46 South Dakota 884,659 0.27%

47 North Dakota 762,062 0.23%

48 Alaska 731,545 0.22%

49 DC 705,749 0.21%

50 Vermont 623,989 0.19%

51 Wyoming 578,759 0.17%

Carlos Ponce

Poor Mike ! He can't vote in Harris County using a drop box ! Of course if you live in Galveston County you cannot do that - LEGALLY that is.

Question, Mike, did you EVER use a drop box? Does that mean your vote was suppressed in 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and all the midterms?

Dan Freeman

Harris County 4.5 million population - one drop off box

Loving County 134 population - one drop off box

Seems fair, snicker.

Carlos Ponce

In 2016 65 people cast votes for president in Loving County. 58 of them were for Trump. Will they even use their drop off box? Tell you what, Dan. On election day drive to Loving County and cast your Galveston County vote in their drop box. That'll show 'em!

Jim Forsythe

Promoting illegal voting!

George Laiacona

Let’s face I, Voter Suppression has been going on since way back when only land owners could vote. The idea has many devious ways of improving. Today’s method is as in the past to make it almost impossible for Minorities to get out and vote. It would appear to the Republicans that if the Minorities could easily be out and vote, it might upset their cause to be in control of American government.

Carlos Ponce

"Today’s method is as in the past to make it almost impossible for Minorities to get out and vote." As a member of a recognized "minority" I say that your assessment is without merit.

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