Fighting for Transparency & Fiscal Responsibility in Local Government

UPDATED: Dallas Election Administrator Says NO To Finding Fraud. Find it later.

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UPDATE: The Dallas County Republican Party (DCRP) has sent a cease and desist demand letter to Russell Miller, Chairman of the Signature Verification Committee. In the letter, DCRP’s General Counsel, Elizabeth Alvarez, demands that Miller cease to violate numerous statutes in the Texas Election Code. One of which is Section 33.061 referring to unlawfully obstructing a poll watcher. For the full demand letter, click HERE.

 

Dallas County has become the hot bed for mail-in ballot fraud over the last couple years. Earlier this year Miguel Hernandez pled guilty to charges related to him illegally harvesting 766 mail-in ballots in a city council race.

A record breaking mid-term election is in full swing and once again mail-in ballots are at the center of Dallas County elections. Members of the ballot board and poll watchers have been told they cannot take notes and poll watchers are even being told by Dallas Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole (TPP) that they are not allowed in the signature verification room. Insanely, the Dallas District Attorney agrees. Evidently the DA’s office is unable to read basic election code.

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Arrests in Tarrant County

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The Office of the Attorney General of Texas has made 4 arrests for organized voter fraud in North Fort Worth. Direct Action Texas first went public with the Tarrant County voter fraud activity in October 2016. 3 years ago, this month, DAT filed its first complaint with the OAG regarding ballot harvesting in Tarrant County. With this case we can hope that while the wheels of justice turn very slowly, they appear to be turning none the less.

The indictments include Leticia Sanchez (16 counts), Leticia Sanchez Tepichin (10 counts / 1st Leticia’s daughter), Maria Solis (two counts) and Laura Parra (one count). The indictments are all from elections in 2016 – the democrat primary and the Fort Worth Charter election. Of note is the absence of indictments from the 2015 TRWD election. The absence of those is due to the fact that Tarrant County shredded all the applications and carriers from that election after learning we were investigating it, but prior to the AG sending a retention letter.  According to storage records we have obtained, Tarrant County has those records in storage for every election back to 2010, except the 2015 TRWD race. 

Sanchez, Tepichin, Solis, and Parra are all female Hispanic canvassers who work in what is called “ballot harvesting” operations. D Magazine explained how ballot harvesting works in an article last year which featured our work in exposing it.

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Tarrant JP Ritchie’s Former Court Administrator Sentenced

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Tarrant County Justice of the Peace Gary Ritchie’s former court administrator Shelly Ables has been sentenced to 42 months in prison. Ritchie’s 23 year employee, campaign treasurer, and close friend received her sentence for stealing over $65,000 in cash from the court in which she worked.

Direct Action Texas first broke this story in July of 2017 when Tarrant County Auditor Renee Tidwell submitted an audit of JP Ritchie’s court initially showing $19,000 worth of missing funds. Then in September of 2017, Shelly Ables was indicted on 7 counts including unlawfully acquiring property valued between $20,000 and $100,000, mishandling property for which she was a fiduciary, and multiple counts of making a false entry on a governmental record with intent to defraud. Ables pleaded guilty to one count of theft by a public servant, one count of misapplication of fiduciary property, and five counts of tampering with a government document.

Ables committed her crimes between April 2015 and October 2016, right under the nose of her close friend and employer, Gary Ritchie. Under Texas statute, Judge Ritchie is liable for all activities in his court, yet no charges have been filed against him. All the blame has fallen on the shoulders of Ables who has made full restitution and will now spend three and a half years in prison.

While Ritchie remains clear of criminal prosecution, the voters have held him accountable. Ritchie failed to secure the Republican nomination, finishing last behind the two other candidates. Republican Jason Charbonnet now faces Democrat Deborah Hall and Libertarian Derek Thorn for the Justice of the Peace, Precinct 6 seat.

 

Vote Early, Vote Twice in Travis and Williamson Counties

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Due to errors on the first round of ballots mailed to voters, thousands in Travis and Williamson Counties will receive two ballots for the November 6thElection. Both counties claim they are on top of the problem, but this situation will raise serious questions about the validity of the vote counts. The two counties are already dodging questions about the exact number of incorrect ballots that were sent and for which voting districts.

Williamson county sent an estimated 8,000 ballots that omitted William Bryan Strange III, Libertarian candidate for presiding judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals. Travis County sent an estimated 1,500 ballots omitting the certified write-in candidates. Those are not the actual numbers of incorrect ballots, however. The two counties are refusing to give an exact number or specifics on where those ballots were mailed and to whom. Election Law forbids the release of the names of voters who applied for ballot by mail until after the election. That law was not written for a case such as this, though, and an exception should be made.

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The Haddock Saga Continues – Now in Federal Court

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As if the primary defeats were not enough for the Haddocks, they have now filed an unfounded lawsuit in Federal Court. Last week Diane Haddock filed a civil rights lawsuit against Patricia Baca-Bennett and Tarrant County, as her employers, for creating a hostile work environment that she and her husband actually created themselves.

The 2018 Tarrant County judicial primary was bizarre to say the least. Haddock’s husband came out guns blazing against several members of the family court while focusing on Judge James Mumford. Haddock and his minions made numerous accusations and sent out hit piece after hit piece, only to be sorely defeated at the polls. Voters utterly rejected the malarkey Haddock was selling.

Now 8 months later Diane Haddock has decided to sue claiming that Tarrant County and Judge Baca-Bennett created a hostile working environment. Read More

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