Legislature Exploring Voter Fraud Ahead of 2018 Elections

With a March 6th primary right around the corner, and several hotly contested races on the ballot, an interim legislative committee today will look at security protocols, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

The hearing comes on the heels of an ongoing investigation in Dallas, which Jeff Blaylock with Texas Election Source says surrounds the absentee ballots.

"We've got a new investigation in Dallas County that's very similar to one last year where you have folks who are pretending to be other people in order to vote using mail-in ballots," he explains.

Last year, a voter fraud scandal surrounded a pair of Dallas city council races. Some 700 suspicious absentee ballots have been sequestered. This year, the Dallas County Elections Administrator says they're investigating even more ballots, because the voters did not request them.

If there is a weak link in the state's elections, it's not at the voting booth.  Chuck DeVore with the Texas Public Policy Foundation says it's with the mail-in ballots, and the people known as vote harvesters.

"They'll often manipulate the ballot in assisted living homes, and they'll end up generating hundreds of votes," he says.

While that's not a lot, in a low-turnout election, he says it’s enough to swing something like a school board race, and that's attractive because of the money and power that come with it.

Last legislative session, the legislature passed and the governor signed a bill that increases the penalties for voter fraud, raising it to a felony in some cases.

Today's hearing will also examine the use of electronic voting machines and paper ballots.

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