Press release from Sen. Paul Bettencourt:
Texas SOS issues first election law opinion in five years due to mistakes by Harris County Voter Registrar Comes on the heels of Voter Registrar Ann Harris Bennett disenfranchising 250+ voters in Baytown
HOUSTON – Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston) today presented an Opinion by the Texas Secretary of State, the first one released in five years, and sent a letter calling on the Harris County Registrar to follow the law as outlined by the highest election official in the state. The Opinion is regarding a voter challenge by Senate District 7 resident Alan Vera and the procedural mistakes made by Harris County Voter Registrar Ann Harris Bennett (D-Houston) and Harris County Attorney Vince Ryan’s (D-Houston) office. Mr. Vera’s challenge showed multiple examples of voter registrations at post office boxes, or commercial property addresses, which opens up the voter roll to fraud with people registered and voting in areas in which they do not live.
“The integrity of the voter roll is paramount to the entire electoral process,” said Senator Bettencourt. “My constituent, Mr. Vera, asked me to request this opinion and I agreed because the law is clear and his voter challenge should not have been thrown out.”
The challenge covered over 4,000 voter registrations as not meeting the residency requirements as stated in Section 1.015 of the Texas Election Code. Following the filing of the challenge, Harris County Voter Registrar, Ann Harris Bennett, erroneously put over 1,000 voters on the suspense list, creating serious confusion before the August Harris County Bond Election. The County Attorney’s Office advised the challenge was not valid as it lacked “personal knowledge” that the registrations were inaccurate and ended the challenge.
“The voter registration residency challenge that I filed should have activated a very simple, administrative process within the registrar’s system as clearly laid out in the Texas Election Code,” said Alan Vera. “Instead, the process spelled out in the law was mishandled by the voter registrar and was further bungled by the Harris County Attorney. That is why I went to my State Senator to ask for help.”
The opinion from the Texas Secretary of State stated that “personal knowledge” could include “…knowing from experience and observation that those (voter registration) addresses are commercial properties or other properties that are not generally residences…” Given the opinion from the Secretary of State, Mr. Vera’s challenge does meet the requirement of “personal knowledge” as required by the election code.
“Having people registered in bulk where they do not live opens up the opportunity for a candidate or party to pack a targeted district,” added Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart. “The voter roll should represent where people actually live.”
Most recently, as reported by Houston area media, 250+ residents in the City of Baytown could be given the wrong ballots in the November election as Ms. Bennett failed to update boundary lines to include recently annexed areas. Additionally, unanswered questions continue to remain about her court fight, spending taxpayer money, regarding her refusal to remove non-citizens from the voter roll. (https://bit.ly/2BC0wQI). “Public confidence in the voter roll can only be restored by Voter Registrar Bennett properly following the law,” concluded Senator Bettencourt.
Undocumented immigrant voted in Bexar County for more than 20 years
An undocumented Mexican immigrant who lived for years in a rural San Antonio suburb pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of fraud and identity theft, admitting he used a stolen identity to vote in several elections.
Enrique Salazar Ortiz, 63, would not tell federal agents how many times he had voted using the name of former San Antonio resident Jesse H. Vargas Jr., but Salazar did admit casting a ballot in the 2016 general election, according to the plea agreement.
But Bexar County records show a man with Vargas’ name and date of birth voted in every general election for the past 24 years, county elections administrator Jacque Callanen said Thursday.
“He’s been voting since at least 1994,” Callanen said. “Vargas” also voted in the 2008 Democratic primary, she said.
Former Democratic Party leader paid women in alleged Tarrant voter fraud ring, AG says
A Fort Worth woman recently indicted on voter fraud charges paid others involved in the scheme with funds provided by a former Tarrant County Democratic Party leader, court documents filed this week say.
After learning about a state investigation, Leticia Sanchez — one of four women arrested and indicted on voter fraud charges — allegedly directed her daughter to send a text message to others in the scheme, urging them not to cooperate with investigators, state officials say.
The allegations are made in the state’s notice of intent to introduce evidence in Sanchez’s criminal case, where state officials say she was among those who collaborated to vote for certain down-ballot candidates with a number of north side residents’ mail-in ballots.
The notice, filed Tuesday, states that Sanchez engaged in organized criminal activity in collaboration with her three co-defendants; Stuart Clegg, a former executive director for the Tarrant County Democratic Party; and others.
Texas Dems ask noncitizens to register to vote, send applications with citizenship box pre-checked
The Texas Democratic Party asked non-citizens to register to vote, sending out applications to immigrants with the box citizenship already checked “Yes,” according to new complaints filed Thursday asking prosecutors to see what laws may have been broken.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation alerted district attorneys and the federal Justice Department to the pre-checked applications, and also included a signed affidavit from a man who said some of his relatives, who aren’t citizens, received the mailing.
“This is how the Texas Democratic Party is inviting foreign influence in an election in a federal election cycle,” said Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the PILF, a group that’s made its mark policing states’ voter registration practices.
The Texas secretary of state’s office said it, too, had gotten complaints both from immigrants and from relatives of dead people who said they got mailings asking them to register.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to investigate.
“If true there will be serious consequences,” he said.
(click here to read on washingtontimes.com – interestingly, it appears that no major media outlet in Texas covered this)
Nothing to see here, move on. Voter fraud doesn’t exist. At least that is what Democrats say.