Dallas County officials opened a criminal investigation Monday into the May 6 election following persistent allegations of voter fraud involving mail-in ballots in Democrat races allegedly targeting elderly residents.
The probe affects two Dallas districts and the results of these races may not be known for days while authorities sort through the authenticity of 671 mail-in ballots.
Dallas Assistant District Attorney Andy Chatham told The Dallas Morning News that officials opened this investigation after an “off the charts” number of allegations, especially in the West Dallas race, surfaced.
“What matters to me is getting the ballots, looking at them, and finding evidence of wrongdoing, and finding out who’s responsible for that,” he said, noting it is not clear who is responsible for the purported voter irregularities but acknowledged something fraudulent occurred. In Texas, voting illegally is a second-degree felony.
The filed court documents revealed that on Saturday night Chatham asked a judge to sequester the questionable 671 mail-in ballots in races for District 2 and District 6. On Sunday, Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole told the Morning News two City Council races remained “in limbo” while officials scrutinized the authenticity of the 671 mail-in ballots, of which 426 were cast in the race for a West Dallas council seat in District 6, and 245 came from District 2.
Chatham said, in April, his office began receiving complaints from Dallas County residents who said they never requested mail-in ballots but received them. Mid-month this situation became known publicly once West Dallas-area pastor James Armstrong alerted local media and officials that some of his senior citizen congregants provided evidence they received absentee ballots although they never applied for them, as Breitbart Texas reported.
Subsequently, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and State Representative Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) inked a letter in late April authorizing Pippins-Poole to “take whatever steps necessary to restore voter confidence in West Dallas,” as Breitbart Texas reported. The letter underscored the Dallas officials’ concerns of “possible voter fraud” in the district.
“According to reports, dozens of voters received mail-in ballots they never requested,” their letter stated, which “suggests the possibility of a coordinated effort to benefit a candidate or candidates in the upcoming Dallas City Council elections.”
The letter added: “What’s more startling is that this is the second time in less than a year we have heard reports of irregularities in West Dallas.”
The previous report further noted:
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…
Democrat Monica Alonzo, the West Dallas favorite and the front-runner for the District 6 council seat must wait while elections authorities verify all those mail-in ballots.
“We are very excited to have the early voting results we want to make sure that everyone who voted has had the opportunity to have their voices heard,” Alonzo told supporters Saturday night. She said wants to ensure officials address voter fraud allegations, KERA reported.
So far, officials threw out 40 suspicious mail-in ballots, according to the Dallas newspaper. Chatham said the 40 people whose names were on those ballots came to the polls to vote in person on Saturday and cast provisional ballots, which he said were counted.
Provisional ballots often allow individuals to vote often in the event of an administrative error; however, cast provisional ballots are kept separate from regular ballots and a voter’s records will be reviewed by a board to determine if the ballot will be counted or rejected, says the Texas Secretary of State’s office.
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