The following email has been sent to League of Women Voters registration volunteers:
To Our Voter Registration Volunteers:
It is with great pleasure that I write to tell you that we shall after all be able to provide our usual on-the-spot voter registration service to new citizens at the Houston Area Naturalization Ceremony to be held on December 15th. And, with a few minor procedural tweaks, we anticipate being able to continue with this excellent program in 2011 and beyond.
Mr. Sumner’s plans were unsupportable as a matter of law, as a matter of wise governance and as a matter of simple good sense.
I ask you to make every effort to join our Corps of Volunteers and help welcome new citizens to the electorate on December 15th.
As always, please reply to this email and let us know if you’ll be able to be there. We’ll then provide additional instructions and prepare your credentials. It’s going to be a great day.
With kindest regards from Ann and from me,
Linda W. Cohn
The League of Women Voters of the Houston Area
I’m very glad to hear it, and I look forward to receiving word that the matter has been satisfactorily resolved.
Meanwhile, the Chron editorial board took notice of Sumners’ actions.
Seems to us that facilitating the registration of new citizens should be a top priority of an elected official with voter registrar responsibilities, and we don’t know of a surer pool of potential voters than those people who’ve just been sworn in as U.S. citizens.
After the controversy erupted, Sumners announced he would seek a waiver from the Texas secretary of state to allow the League of Women Voters to collect the registration forms and deliver them to his office. He also postponed the change in policy pending review by the Justice Department. It’s too bad he didn’t do that before setting off a needless brouhaha.
Linda W. Cohn, voter registration chair for the league, says she’s received assurances from the Texas secretary of state’s office that the current method of registering voters at naturalization ceremonies is proper and that the process will continue at the ceremony next Wednesday. “I am concerned that one of Mr. Sumners’ first acts of governance was so ill-considered,” notes Cohn. “It would seem to me that a voter registrar would so happily embrace the opportunity to welcome new citizens to the electorate at a minuscule cost to the tax office.”
We hope this is not an indication of the quality of policy decision-making by Sumners in the future. Now that the election’s over, we believe Commissioners Court should create an independent election administrator position that will insulate this vital governmental function from the partisanship and issue grandstanding exhibited by recent tax assessor-collectors.
I for one am quite certain that this is an indication of the quality of Sumners’ future policy decision-making. I’ve expressed some concerns about the elections administrator idea, but minimizing the damage Sumners is capable of doing outweighs a lot of that.