TEXAS AG INVESTIGATES VOTER FRAUD ALLEGATIONS IN TARRANT COUNTY

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The Texas Attorney General has opened a “voter fraud” probe of mail-in ballots for primary elections in Tarrant County, a new report says. Texas has led the US in seeking voting restrictions, such as a voter ID law that courts have called discriminatory.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has begun an investigation into mail-in ballots from the state’s primary elections, anonymous local officials told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Paxton’s office would not “confirm or deny investigations” or comment further, nor would the Tarrant County Elections Administration comment on a possible investigation.

However, local officials told the Star-Telegram that the investigation depends on one person who stood as a witness for five mail-in applications from the same nursing home or retirement center. That case was turned over to state investigators, the Star-Telegram reported.

In Texas, a person can help as many people as possible in requesting a mail-in ballot, which is crucial way to vote for those who cannot make their polling place, such as the elderly, those in the military stationed elsewhere, or anyone who cannot be at their local polling place on election days. Yet each Texan is allowed by law to act as a witness for another person — physically assisting with the mail-in application or ballot — just once unless their assistance is for more than one immediate family member.

Of the around 20,000 applications for mail-in ballots for primary elections in Tarrant County, 131 included witnesses, the Star-Telegram reported. Only one of those involved one person who acted as a witness for more than one person who were not family members. That person helped five people at the same address, which, the Star-Telegram reported, is a home or center for elderly persons.

The Star-Telegram went on to report that many Texas Republicans have sought opportunities to target so-called “ballot harvesting” that they allege is common within the state’s mail-in ballot system.

“That’s the whole problem with mail-in ballots,” Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley told the Star-Telegram. “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.”

Democrats and other Republicans expressed doubts about the new investigation in Tarrant County.

“It’s amazing, but there’s nothing there,” an anonymous Republican consultant told the Star-Telegram. “The law they want changed now is mail-in ballot.

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“It would be hard to imagine that we could get rid of ballots by mail,” the Republican consultant added. “There are too many people who can’t make it to the polls — the entire military, people in the hospital, people who are forced to be out of town. It’s not practical to get rid of it.”

The Tarrant County district attorney’s office is not involved in the state investigation, according to Samantha Jordan, a spokeswoman for the office. Jordan added that the office does support the investigation.

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