Voter fraud investigation opened in Texas county

Allegations of voter fraud in the Texas county of Tarrant highlight the nationwide problems with mail-in and absentee ballots.

There is no voter ID law that covers these paper ballots, meaning that the practice of "vote harvesting" is in play.  Essentially, vote harvesters can send in any number of ballots using other registered voters' names and addresses.  Investigators in Tarrant county are looking into this practice and trying to determine if it is a widespread problem.

Star-Telegram:

“The Republicans have been looking for a blockbuster case to demonstrate that voter fraud isn’t just a series of small mistakes,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “If some of these allegations turn out to be true, they may finally have their white whale.

“Whether there is lawbreaking or not, the issue of voting is polarized and revelations this close to an election are bound to have an effect on Democratic Party and affiliated groups’ efforts to get out the vote. Voters may be hesitant to sign up for or vote through a mail-in ballot, let alone give it to someone else. This may reduce turnout in some heavily Democratic areas that utilize this process.”

Local officials say workers with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office have been in the reliably red Tarrant County gathering paperwork and interviewing potential witnesses.

The attorney general’s office declined to “confirm or deny investigations” or comment on the situation. When asked for the complaints that started the local investigation, attorney general’s workers declined to release them, expressing concern that doing so might hamper a criminal investigation.

The Tarrant County Elections Administration has declined to comment on the issue.

“There could be a problem,” Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said. “I really believe our folks are very much on top of things.

“That’s the whole problem with mail-in ballots,” he said. “Someone requests a ballot and we don’t know if they got the ballot, filled it out and returned it. The voter fraud they are referring to can only be corrected by doing away with mail-in ballots.”

The mail-in ballots involved in the state investigation are from the primary elections, local officials say.

At issue is how often people may assist others — or physically help by witnessing — with filling out applications for mail-in ballots or the ballots themselves.

Texans may assist as many people as they like in requesting mail-in ballots. But each person is allowed to witness only one request for a mail-in ballot per year, unless it’s for more than one immediate family member.

Witnessing a ballot is not the problem.  Or if it is, it's a small one.  The problem is that anyone can request a mail-in ballot, and a determined bunch of fraudsters can use that to stuff the ballot box.

In Theodore H. White's masterpiece Making of a President 1960, the author quoted election experts saying that, at that time, about 3% of the presidential vote was fraudulent.  It was much worse in the 19th century, with the two parties at the state and local levels playing a waiting game to see who would announce his fraudulent ballots last, thus being able to tip a close election. 

As much as liberals like to say voter fraud is not a problem, the truth is, no one knows how big a problem it really is.  Any effort to investigate – as we see above is met with charges of racism and supressing the minority vote. 

Personally, I think Trump is full of it if he thinks millions of ballots can be fraudulently cast.  But there is absolutely no doubt that in a close election at the congressional and perhaps even the state level fraud can tip the balance.

Allegations of voter fraud in the Texas county of Tarrant highlight the nationwide problems with mail-in and absentee ballots.

There is no voter ID law that covers these paper ballots, meaning that the practice of "vote harvesting" is in play.  Essentially, vote harvesters can send in any number of ballots using other registered voters' names and addresses.  Investigators in Tarrant county are looking into this practice and trying to determine if it is a widespread problem.

Star-Telegram:

“The Republicans have been looking for a blockbuster case to demonstrate that voter fraud isn’t just a series of small mistakes,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a political science professor at the University of Houston. “If some of these allegations turn out to be true, they may finally have their white whale.

“Whether there is lawbreaking or not, the issue of voting is polarized and revelations this close to an election are bound to have an effect on Democratic Party and affiliated groups’ efforts to get out the vote. Voters may be hesitant to sign up for or vote through a mail-in ballot, let alone give it to someone else. This may reduce turnout in some heavily Democratic areas that utilize this process.”

Local officials say workers with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office have been in the reliably red Tarrant County gathering paperwork and interviewing potential witnesses.

The attorney general’s office declined to “confirm or deny investigations” or comment on the situation. When asked for the complaints that started the local investigation, attorney general’s workers declined to release them, expressing concern that doing so might hamper a criminal investigation.

The Tarrant County Elections Administration has declined to comment on the issue.

“There could be a problem,” Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley said. “I really believe our folks are very much on top of things.

“That’s the whole problem with mail-in ballots,” he said. “Someone requests a ballot and we don’t know if they got the ballot, filled it out and returned it. The voter fraud they are referring to can only be corrected by doing away with mail-in ballots.”

The mail-in ballots involved in the state investigation are from the primary elections, local officials say.

At issue is how often people may assist others — or physically help by witnessing — with filling out applications for mail-in ballots or the ballots themselves.

Texans may assist as many people as they like in requesting mail-in ballots. But each person is allowed to witness only one request for a mail-in ballot per year, unless it’s for more than one immediate family member.

Witnessing a ballot is not the problem.  Or if it is, it's a small one.  The problem is that anyone can request a mail-in ballot, and a determined bunch of fraudsters can use that to stuff the ballot box.

In Theodore H. White's masterpiece Making of a President 1960, the author quoted election experts saying that, at that time, about 3% of the presidential vote was fraudulent.  It was much worse in the 19th century, with the two parties at the state and local levels playing a waiting game to see who would announce his fraudulent ballots last, thus being able to tip a close election. 

As much as liberals like to say voter fraud is not a problem, the truth is, no one knows how big a problem it really is.  Any effort to investigate – as we see above is met with charges of racism and supressing the minority vote. 

Personally, I think Trump is full of it if he thinks millions of ballots can be fraudulently cast.  But there is absolutely no doubt that in a close election at the congressional and perhaps even the state level fraud can tip the balance.