Rachel Maddow blew the lid off a scandal in Texas that could prevent thousands of students from voting in the midterm elections.
The MSNBC host pointed out a troubling incident in the 10th congressional district of Texas in which the field director for Democratic candidate Mike Siegel was arrested for “trying to make sure that local students at the local black college can vote.”
“I know it feels like your TV set should be in black and white as I’m telling this story, but no, this is us now,” Maddow said.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) October 12, 2018
Maddow explained the troubling development:
After they arrested the congressional candidate’s field director, reportedly after confirming with him that he worked for a Democratic campaign specifically, after they arrested him and they held him and then they finally let him out, even after they finally let him out, they kept his phone. He is the field director for the Democratic congressional candidate in that district, and the election is less than a month away. Now local law enforcement has confiscated his phone – for the crime of handing over a letter trying to make sure that local students at the local black college can vote this time. Happy 2018. I know it feels like your TV set should be in black and white as I’m telling this story, but no, this is us now.
Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo reported more this week about the Democratic field director’s arrest and the historical obstacles put up for black voters in Texas’ 10th congressional district:
In the 10th district, there’s a historically black university called Prairie View A&M University. There’s a long history of the local county government (Waller County) trying to prevent the students there from voting. There was even a big Supreme Court case about it in 1979. This year local officials have put a new set of obstacles in the way of the students voting.
As Siegel explained to me, Siegel’s campaign wrote a letter proposing a solution to the problem and sent a campaign staffer, Jacob Aronowitz, to deliver it to the County Courthouse in Waller County. In Texas, the County Judge (in this case Waller County Judge Carbett “Trey” J. Duhon III) is actually the county executive, not a judge as we usually use the term. In any case, Aronowitz presented the letter to a member of the County Clerk’s staff and then took a picture of himself submitting the letter as a sort of proof of service. It’s not clear whether this was County Clerk Debbie Hollan or another member of the clerk’s office. Whoever it was got upset that he’d taken a picture and called over a bailiff – she apparently thought her privacy had been violated by taking the photograph.
Voter suppression could stop the blue wave in its tracks
Seemingly everywhere we look, there are efforts underway to prevent African Americans voters from being able to cast a ballot in the November midterms.
In this case, it was black students in Texas. But as we speak in Georgia, tens of thousands of African-American voters are seeing their registration applications held up by Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp – the guy who just so happens to be the GOP nominee for governor. It’s the reason why the Georgia NAACP is planning a lawsuit against him.
In North Dakota, the story is similar. Due to new voting requirements in the state, thousands of Native Americans will not be able to vote next month.
It is these kinds of voter suppressions tactics that Republicans are hoping will minimize – or stop altogether – the blue wave that is expected to sweep them out of power in November.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.