The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Austin and Houston, September 14 – Given the ugly recent history of voter fraud in several elections statewide across Texas, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s efforts to prevent the mass use of mail-in ballots certainly seems justified. A recent study by the Washington, D.C., “think tank,” the Heritage Foundation found more than 86 criminal and civil cases in Texas alone involving voter fraud since 2005. Almost all of those cases involved the fraudulent use of mail-in or absentee ballots.
In 2018 alone, three Texas elections were overturned after courts found voter fraud had occurred through the manipulation of mail-in ballots.
Therefore, Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins plan to send more than two million unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to Harris County registered voters, many of whom do not quality to vote by mail, seems reckless at best. Not surprisingly, the Texas Democratic Party is directly involved in the litigation seeking the widespread use of mail-in ballots, even when voters have not applied for them.
On Saturday, September 12, Paxton commended the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for granting an emergency stay defending critical anti-fraud provisions in the Texas Election Code and halting a district court’s order demanding the Texas Secretary of State issue a series of unlawful advisories directing local election officials not to enforce Texas law limiting mail-in ballots. The laws at issue are longstanding measures that ensure that the voter who submits a mail-in ballot is the same person who applied to vote by mail, thereby preventing the unauthorized and fraudulent use of mail-in ballots.
“I thank the Fifth Circuit for granting this stay and halting the district court’s unlawful order. State election law, as written by the Texas Legislature, must be followed consistently and correctly in order to protect the integrity of our elections and prevent fraud. The district court’s order blatantly violates state law and will do nothing but sow confusion and chaos,” said Attorney General Paxton. “Protecting the integrity and security of elections is one of my top priorities. The unlawful order to violate Texas election law cannot stand.”
Paxton explained, “To prevent fraud, Texas election law generally requires all voters to vote by personal appearance at a polling place, with specific protections for distinct groups, such as the elderly or disabled, to cast their ballots by mail. Texans who wish to vote by mail must first submit an application for a mail-in ballot. If the application is approved, the voter must then mail the completed ballot along with a certificate signed by the voter certifying that the ballot is their own. Local officials are required to verify that the ballot was lawfully submitted by the voter by comparing signatures on the ballot and certificate and notify the voter if the ballot is not accepted.”
Also on Saturday, Paxton filed an appeal with the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston, urging the court to prevent Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins from sending more than two million unsolicited mail-in ballot applications to registered voters in Harris County, many of whom do not qualify to vote by mail.
Paxton said, “Hollins’s plan to unlawfully send mail-in ballot applications circumvents the careful limits the Constitution places on county officials’ authority and blatantly violates Texas election law.”
Harris County must respond to Paxton’s emergency appeal by 9 a.m. this morning, Monday, September 14, and the Office of the Attorney General requested relief be granted no later than 5 p.m. today.
Under Texas election law, mail-in ballots are reserved for a few limited categories of qualified voters who are age 65 and older and voters who are disabled. The proposed mass mailing would sow confusion because applications would go to all registered voters, regardless of whether they legally qualify to vote a mail ballot and regardless of whether they even want to vote by mail. Texas law requires the clerk to send applications to voters who specifically request them.
The Heritage Foundation study mentioned three Texas elections, which courts overturned in 2018:
- “A closely contested run-off election for a Justice of Peace seat was overturned by Visiting District Court Judge Joel Johnson, following a two-day hearing. A challenge to the election was filed by Ofelia ‘Ofie’ Gutierrez, the candidate running against long time seatholder, Esequiel ‘Cheque’ De La Paz, for the Justice of the Peace seat in Kleberg County. After a recount narrowed the vote differential to just six votes (312 to 318), seven of the sixteen votes contested by Guiterrez were thrown out by Judge Johnson, because they were cast by relatives of De La Paz who lived outside the Precinct 4 boundaries. A new election was ordered to be held before the end of August.
- “In a Republican primary for a seat on the Kaufman County Court, Dennis Jones appeared to beat his challenger Tracy Gray by one vote. Gray challenged the results, claiming that a ‘vote harvester’ had submitted a number of illegal mail-in ballots and that numerous eligible provisional ballots were uncounted. A district judge agreed, invalidating the election results and ordering a new election. The special election was held on July 21 and Tracy Gray prevailed, winning by 404 votes.”
- “Armando O’Cana won a run-off mayoral election in Mission, Texas, unseating longtime holder Norberto ‘Beto’ Salinas. Salinas contested the results of the election, after strong evidence emerged that O’Cana’s campaign was bribing voters, tampering with mail-in ballots, and improperly assisting voters at the polls. After a two week trial during which numerous witnesses testified, Judge J. Bonner Dorsey voided the election stating, ‘I hold or find, by clear and convincing evidence, that the number of illegal votes was in excess of 158.'”