(Image: Sen. Elbert Guillory)
BAYOUBUZZ UPDATES NOTE: After reading this column, please look at the video below and the recent updates
Or more politely, "show us your proof"
On Monday, I received news from the Black Conservative Fund, a group that had been new to me. They forwarded me this email along with what they called a “shocking” video. I clicked it the video to watch.
Democrat Mayor Encourages Voter Fraud at Landrieu Event
Today, the BlackConservativesFundPAC (BCF) released shocking video footage of
Opelousas Mayor Don Cravins Sr. encouraging a crowd of Democrat Party bosses, activists
and operatives to commit voter fraud at a rally in support of Sen. Mary Landrieu and local
The video was taken on the evening of Nov. 3, 2014, at the Charcoal Lounge on Academy
Street in Opelousas, La.
“Now, if you already voted, go vote again tomorrow,” Cravins Sr. is seen telling a crowd. “One
more time’s not going to hurt...”
Cravins Sr. shamelessly went on to say, “...tomorrow we’re gonna elect Earl Taylor as the
[District Attorney] so he won’t prosecute you if you vote twice.”
Cravins Sr. is a former state senator, Louisiana Democrat Party operative and the current mayor
of Opelousas, La. He is currently in a run-off for re-election against fellow Democrat, David
Don Cravins Sr.’s son, Don Cravins Jr., happens to be Sen. Mary Landrieu’s chief of staff.
“Mayor Cravins’ comments are appalling,” BCF Senior Advisor Ali Akbar said. “Mayor Cravins is
brazenly encouraging those in attendance to violate state and federal law by committing voter
fraud. He is compromising the integrity of our voting process and likely violating federal and
state law himself.”
BCF has turned over a copy of the video and a transcript to the Louisiana Secretary of State’s
office, the Louisiana Attorney General’s office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“We’re pledging our full cooperation with state and federal investigations,” said BCF board
member Anita MonCrief, also known as the “ACORN whistle-blower.”
“Mayor Cravins owes the people Opelousas and Louisiana an apology,” Akbar said. “We’re
calling on both state parties, Congressman Cassidy and Senator Landrieu’s campaigns to
immediately denounce Cravins' reckless disregard for the law.”
The speaker, Mayor Cravens of Opelousas Louisiana was addressing an audience at a political rally. The video did not show the mayors face or any part of his body. Nor did it show the crowd.
Cravens urged the attendees at the rally, presumably majority African-American, to vote twice and often.
Shortly after those election pleas, a now familiar figure, Louisiana Sen. Elbert Guillory, appeared on the video and further blasted Democrats and others for voter fraud. He extolled Republicans who he said control the Louisiana government seats . Guillory has become popular, and almost a folk hero, to the tea party, conservatives and Republicans in general, because he is an African-American, who has blasted US Senator Mary Landrieu and President Barack Obama and others claiming that they are hurting the black community and they and other democrats are only looking out for themselves.
I wrote about this issue the other day.
At the time, I said that I thought the mayor was teasing and joking with the crowd. Part of my reasoning for my observation was that the crowd laughed after each statement. It was also done within an open environment and not behind closed doors. I felt after watching the video that the mayor was openly mocking Republicans and others who are and who have been claiming that Democrats and blacks have been and are engaging in rampant voter fraud. A politician speaking in front of a crowd often makes self-deprecating remarks and I put it into this category, a joke. A pitiful one at that, especially given the racial tensions and suspicions we are encountering today.
The mayor, who made these remarks, whether he meant it as a joke to a mock those outrageous claims or whether he was sending a message to the audience to do something unlawful, did so stupidly.
Well, for so many reasons that it is hard for me to articulate. Still, let’s start with the fact that Cravens is the father of Mary Landrieu’s chief of staff. Landrieu is the underdog right now against a Republican Congressman, Bill Cassidy, who now wants to be Landrieu’s replacement. The son was at the rally. It is hard to conjure a more pleasing experience for a person on a political mission to obtain raw footage that, if you want to belief the literal words, would corroborate these closely-held republican beliefs-- that democrats and blacks engage in voter fraud and that it is infesting our civil process.
The video also gave the Republicans and the black conservatives an opportunity to associate Mayor Cravens, his comment, his son and Mary Landrieu two a despicable cause—political corruption.
Immediately after that email, I then received one from the tea party ex-Congressman who is campaigning to be the states’ next Attorney General, Jeff Landry. He has been appointed by the Louisiana Republican Party to be in charge of protecting the Louisiana citizens against such fraud.
The following email was sent by the Louisiana Republican Party and it was obviously timed, or so it seemed, to further back Landry’s new official position, to stamp out voter fraud, or in Republican speak, the widespread corruptive practice perpetrated by Democrats and blacks.
Landry Condemns Cravins: Cravins’ Comments Prove Importance of Voter Integrity Program
BATON ROUGE, LA – Former U.S. Representative and current Chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana’s Voter Integrity Program Jeff Landry expressed his deep concern about comments from Donald Cravins, Sr. after video surfaced of the Opelousas Mayor encouraging voter fraud in Louisiana’s elections.
“The Democrat machine has once again been exposed for its efforts to mislead, cheat and steal when it comes to elections,” said Landry. “From voter impersonation and vote buying to the duplicative voting that Mayor Cravins encouraged, voter fraud is real; and I am on a mission to stop it.”
“Civil rights leaders, women’s suffragists and our nation’s veterans have sacrificed too much to let the despicable acts of desperate politicians cancel out the votes of honest, law-abiding citizens,” continued Landry. “All of us in Louisiana should be outraged by Mayor Cravins and the ilk who would commit voter fraud.”
“I will fight for the security and integrity of our elections by making sure every legally cast vote is counted and not diluted by fraud or negligence,” concludedLandry.
Shortly after I received an email statement from the chairman of the Republican Party, Roger Villere, who said:
Chairman Villere Joins in Condemnation of Mayor Cravins’ Comments
BATON ROUGE, LA – LAGOP Chairman Roger Villere joined countless activists across the state and nation to condemn the actions of Opelousas Mayor Donald Cravins, Sr.
Mayor Cravins encouraged a crowd of voters at a recent campaign event for Senator Mary Landrieu to vote again even if they had previously cast a ballot during early voting in the December 6th runoff. Mayor Cravins went on to imply that individuals who participated in such flagrant violation of state and federal law would not be prosecuted.
“These divisive tactics plagued our state’s past in a time that Louisiana was known for Chicago style corruption. Louisiana has seen such great progress since those days and it seems a shame that Mayor Cravins would even suggest that voters participate in the same politics of the past that landed many democrat politicians in jail,” said Villere. “Voter fraud is not a joking matter and to encourage voters to participate in it is reckless and irresponsible.”
“Secretary of State Tom Schedler has been a formidable force in safeguarding the integrity of our elections and has been a fighter to ensure that every vote is counted fairly in our state’s elections. The Secretary of State’s office works hard every day to preserve Louisianians' right to vote.”
Chairman Villere went on to say “Louisiana voters should be outraged by the actions of Mayor Cravins. His actions represent the cronyism of Louisiana’s darkest days. The reality of a free and fair Louisiana can only be hindered by such divisive and regressive actions.”
His comments prompted me to obtain a clarification which email I sent with the question below resulting in this response:
Read your response and posted it in my column...just want to get a clarification from you for my next column..
You said, "“Voter fraud is not a joking matter and to encourage voters to participate in it is reckless and irresponsible.”
Are you acknowledging that Cravins was making a joke with his comment, as stupid as it was?
No, I was speaking about all the people laughing in the background.
The next morning, Tuesday, I participated in a weekly Bayou Buzz-WGSO radio Google hangout talk show interview with my good friend Jeff Crouere. We have been doing this Tuesday morning talk show for over 10 years and, given that it is on ultra-conservative radio, which I call Tea Party radio, results in my openly disagreeing with many of the callers.
I certainly disagree with Jeff on many issues which makes the program that much more entertaining.
While I do endure numerous insults because my political positions, as a moderate, is at odds with theirs. Aside from our disagreements, I have found the callers to be wonderful individual who love God and country and respect their since very strong opinions.
The radio conversation turned to the Mayor Cravens issue. Jeff Crouere mentioned that Guillory had appeared on his radio program earlier in the morning and drop this bombshell to voter fraud to the audience. Jeff and I discussed the video and as expected, most of the callers disagreed with me.
Perhaps to be more exact, they ridiculed me for saying that I felt Cravens was joking. On various occasions I tried to explain that that I certainly would not be able to say what Guillory was thinking when he made those statements but based upon all of the circumstances, that was and is my interpretation of the events. Obviously, they wholeheartedly disagreed.
During the same talk show, a very well-spoken, frequent caller (a liberal Republican), questioned me whether or not I had heard Guillory say on the show that he believes 10% of the people voting for Mary Landrieu the last election did so fraudulently. The caller, James in Metairie, was outraged by Guillory’s claim. So was I.
Which gets me to my point.
It is time for Guillory, Jeff Landry, the Republicans, the tea party people to put up or shut up about this issue. I don't fault them in any way for their conservative beliefs. I agree with many of them. I likewise respect Senator Guillory for standing up for his beliefs and he should be heard as a member of a growing population, Black Republicans.
If they can prove there is indeed voter fraud, then they have done a great service to our community and to our country. However, if they are unable to do so, given the seemingly outrageous claims that they are and have been making now for decades, they should be ridiculed. In particular, Sen. Guillory should be compelled to testify what facts he has regarding this type of heinous activity. It is critical to know his proof--what has he seen, who has done it, and why does he put the corruption in such extraordinarily large numbers of members of our population.
Interestingly, Guillory mentioned during the video, that it was good that we had a Republican secretary of state and voter ID.
That being the case, it would seem that much more difficult to accept those bold claims he made on Crouere’s show.
Moreover, If anybody would have an obligation to prove those claims, publicly, under oath, it is none other than Senator Guillory, a man who has made quite a reputation after converting back to the Republican party and blasting democrats for destroying the black population. After all, gosh forbid that indeed voter fraud permeates our political process to such an extraordinary extent, we must act now, we have not a second to waste.
If, however they are unable to prove their claims, other than pointing to a video whose faces we could not see, they owe democrats, blacks and America a deep apology. The video did not show the speaker. We do not know if he was laughing or smiling. Nor do we know if the audience was serious or smirking. We don’t even know if any of the audience members thought he was serious, after all, for the most part, they were laughing.
Sadly, Guillory, claims to be representing the African American people and the state, but his claims do more damage to the reputation of the people he says he loves and that he represents, than anyone can imagine.
So, again, it is high-time for all of them to put up. Or shut up.
Watch the testy-combative radio interview segment
UPDATE: Moments after I wrote and published this column, I received an email press release regarding Senator Guillory and a just completed case While not knowing anything about the facts of the case at this point, allow me to join others in congratulating Sen. Guillory and others who helped reverse an election, previously won by four votes. As stated above, if he and they can prove voter fraud in Louisiana, they have done a great service for our community and our state. Again, he and others involved in this case should be publicly thanked and I do so. However, making a statement that such a incredibly large segment of the Louisiana population are engaging in voter fraud is simply a claim that must be proven and I urge him to testify about such corruption, should it exist. Likewise, while I totally agree that the video of Mayor Cravens does not, in any way, help diminish the concerns by some regarding vote buying and other similar type of activities and does indeed promote the hysteria that fraud is rampant, until provided information to the contrary, I have no reason to believe that Cravens was seriously urging anyone to engage in such horrible activities. Intentionally wanting people to commit a crime and making an utterly stupid and harmful statement, for whatever reason, do not equate. Nonetheless, congratulations to Senator Guillory and the team that helped win this case and hopefully both parties work together to not only stamp out whatever voter fraud might exist, but, to bring reality to the issue rather than using it for any political purpose.
ALSO, JUST IN:
Today, Black Conservatives Fund (BCF) responded to Mayor Don Cravins, Sr.’s reaction to Monday’s video release showing him encouraging voter fraud at a Democrat event in Opelousas, La. last month.
“Mayor Cravins lacks respect for the law and the serious crime of voter fraud,” BCF board member C.L. Bryant said.“This is absolutely not a joking matter. It was brazen, egregious and wrong. We don’t joke or encourage people to commit other crimes, why would voter fraud be any different?”
Earl Taylor, who is the district attorney representing Opelousas, told local reporters in response to the video, “You can't vote twice. There is no way to do that.”
“Mr. Taylor’s ignorance is appalling,” Bryant said. “Voter fraud is a serious problem with wide-ranging repercussions. To see our elected officials in Louisiana behaving and talking in such a way is embarrassing. It’s scary to see an out-of-touch district attorney unilaterally ruling out the possibility of prosecuting those that might violate the law within his jurisdiction.”
See the original video at OnlyVoteOnce.com.
Read Cravin’s & Taylor’s response here.