Two weeks before the start of early voting and less than one month from a May 6 election, allegations of forged mail-in ballots targeting the elderly overshadow the Dallas County elections.
One Dallas pastor, James Armstrong, expressed concerns that elderly residents are being targeted in a possible mail-in voter scheme after some of his church members said they received ballots, only they never applied for them.
“It’s just a travesty that we are dealing with this,” Armstrong told NBC DFW. “Seniors who have lived in this neighborhood all of their life and are now being taken advantage of.”
Armstrong, the senior pastor of the west Dallas Community Fellowship Church, said at least 10 church members, all senior citizen voters, filed complaints with the Dallas County Elections office after receiving these unsolicited mail-in ballots, according to The Dallas Morning News.
The pastor is not the only one to question purported irregularities. Eighty-one-year-old West Dallas resident Alice Washington still votes in person but she says she got a mail-in ballot for the May 6 election. Barbara Roberson, her niece, contacted the Dallas County Elections office, requesting to see a copy of the application.
“I said, ‘Would you please send me a copy of that application because I’d like to see her signature,” Roberson told WFAA.
The election’s office mailed Washington her supposed application but upon receipt she said it was not her signature. In fact, the family asserts Washington never saw or signed the documents.
“Someone forged her signature,” said Roberson.
Registered voters can only vote by mail in Dallas County if they personally apply for a mail-in ballot. The elections office does not send out applications or ballots without a specific request from a voter, according to office’s website, which cites specific eligibility requirements including the applicant’s signature.
Dallas County Elections administrator Toni Pippens-Poole said her office received 36 complaints over the suspect mail-in ballots, so far, according to WFAA. Pippens-Poole indicated her team is working with the District Attorney’s Office to review all of the complaints and substantiating documentation so they can determine how to move forward.
Dallas City Council District 6, the region allegedly in question, covers a wide area of northwest Dallas and extends to the communities surrounding Dallas Love Field Airport.
In a heated District 6 race, five challengers currently seek to unseat current Mayor Pro-Tem Monica Alonzo in the upcoming Dallas County elections. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings backs Alonzo.
Election integrity advocates have argued that absentee ballot problems can sometimes be rooted in poor maintenance of the underlying voter records. The Public Interest Legal Foundation noted in response to the Dallas episode that Texas should consider tightening procedures for requesting absentee ballots. “As long as you have a name and address of another voter, you’re good to go … You don’t even need to give a birth date,” a group spokesperson told Lifezette. Analysts say that requiring absentee ballot applications to include driver’s license or other government-issued identification numbers could cut down impersonation attempts like claimed by the Washington family.
Last November, emotions ran high over the national election and similar concerns over voter fraud emerged in West Dallas after 15 senior citizen voters were turned away from the polls. They were told they could not vote in person because they submitted mail-in ballots, according to the Dallas newspaper. In late October, a state investigation kicked off over mail-in ballot irregularities in neighboring Tarrant County.
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