Early Voting is over and the stage is set for the November 2nd General Election. The King Street Patriots group, concerned about the sanctity of the election process, has recruited and trained over 1,000 poll watchers to take to the streets and polling locations of Houston. But they will not be alone. Quanell X, leader of the New Black Panther Party, has been doing some recruiting of his own.
According to Fox 26 News, Quanell X spent this week recruiting hundreds of "troops" to watch the poll watchers. The report (shown below) quotes Quanell X as saying he would not tolerate any of his people carrying clubs or weapons as was seen in Philadelphia in the 2008 presidential election. But he also said, very ominously "will not tolerate any intimidation tactics from them against our elderly, our women and our young people."
Does this mean there could be trouble between these two groups, or perhaps, is there an opportunity to step back and find an opportunity to work together to help both sides assure a free and fraud-free election that is also free from intimidation from or to voters or poll watchers?
Both sides seem, on the surface, to want the same thing. The poll watchers recruited and trained by Houston's King Street Patriots' "True the Vote" initiative, want to ensure the vote is free from fraud or other forms of cheating. Quanell X's poll watchers want to make certain that no one is intimidated at the polls. This should include election officials and poll watchers.
As you can see in the Fox 26 News Story and other Houston media reports throughout the week, the media is driving the drama of this potential conflict. After all, conflict at the polls would be big news and big ratings. But as leaders of our community, Quanell X and the King Street Patriots must do everything they can to avoid this conflict.
Houston, "We have an opportunity!" What!? Yes, we have an opportunity to show why Houston is one of the greatest cities in America. We have the opportunity to show that two groups with differing ideas about how to ensure safe and honest elections can work together to accomplish exactly that.
During early voteing I spoke with many poll watchers. Some who had been trained by King Street, some who were trained and appointed by others. What I found across the board was an honest desire to secure the sanctity of the voting process so that NO ONE'S VOTE gets diluted by someone else's cheating.
Let's have a safe voting day. Everyone take a deep breath and do what is right. I don't think we can ask much more than that.