Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Does prolonged, early voting encourage corruption in our electoral process?

I think it's called Political Recycling

Just the other day, Raul Salinas was sworn in for his second term as Mayor of Laredo, Texas. After Salinas hammed it up for the cameras, as he's known to do, his wife said a few words as well. As Ms. Salinas thanked various parties for their help in her husband's successful campaign, she also felt it appropriate to thank "the canoneros". As fellow blogger KeyRose stated, that was a bit of a surprise. I, too, was under the impression that canoneros are something that everyone knows and talks about- but not in front of a TV audience.

Here's my understanding of how the canoneros do their jobs. They are contacted by certain politicans and are made aware of what candidate they are to get out the vote for. Then, they usually go and contact residents from the barrios and tell them that they will pick them up and take them to vote. They are also told, of course, who they should vote for. Now, I think the canonero gets paid by the votes delivered. For example if they pick up and deliver 30 votes and they're paid, say $30 dollars a vote- that's $900. I don't think the voters themselves get anything- except perhaps a pachanga.

It seems, including during this last election, that early voting is the period during which most of this activity goes on. I noticed that some candidates really piled up the votes when early county was tabulated. However, on election day, the tallies were much closer. The same thing happend during the runoffs. It was that long, early voting period during which most of the "delivered votes" were secured.

I know this is not moral, but is it even legal? As many irregularities as the Webb County Elections Division has, there's no way they can (nor would) put an end to this shameful assault on our electoral process.


  1. It is illegal to pay someone to vote for you but it is not illegal to pay someone to take a group of voters to go vote. I hadn't heard of the term "caƱonero" until I moved to Laredo but it is a common practice across the country for different groups to "get out the vote".

    Paying someone or promising them something for their vote, is illegal, though - uh, and for new commissioners who put in one of their former co-workers almost immediately after firing someone else is just a little suspicious.

  2. Ok so the canonero can get paid and it's ok then? Do they actually report this on the campaign spending reports? It just don't seem right. Yea, I saw that on the commissioners. Oh and then the county attorney said- yes they can do that. First, she had said they had to post the job- flip/flop.

  3. I would love to see Rauls campaign report posted here then the public could look for known canoneros & see if their names appear and how much they got paid, & if they were paid by opposing candidates --- Anymouse

  4. Canoneros can be classified as campaign supporters, in a way. But their motives are more self-serving. If I believe in a certain candidate's mission, I can promote him or her within my own circle.

    A canonero will put himself/herself out to the candidate who pays.

    Anonymous makes a good point: let's see the candidates' expense reports.
    Chances are that those expenses might not be reported but learning the identity of the canoneros could lead to a little transparency. Are those people double-dipping? Are they playing one person against the other? And does the IRS know about this?

    Ah, so many questions.

  5. I think the final campaign financial reports should be out soon. Let's hope that LMT reports on them sufficiently.