Low voter turnout has very little to do with difficulty in the voter registration process. About 20 bills already filed in the 86thTexas Legislature would have you believe the opposite. From automatic or electronic voter registration to government entities tasked with ensuring high school students receive registration cards, these so-called solutions to low turnout, are instead invitations to harvesters and others with ill intentions to steal votes.Read More
The Texas 2ndCourt of Appeals has upheld Rosa Maria Ortega’s voter fraud conviction. Ortega, a non-citizen, resident alien was originally convicted and sentenced to eight years in jail by a Tarrant County jury for voting illegally.
Direct Action Texas staff were present during the original trial and witnessed Ortega’s testimony and attempted defense. Her attorney attempted to sway the jury with claims that “She voted Republican! Like some of you might have” and that one vote couldn’t make a difference in an election. His arguments were weak, at best, and failed to refute the evidence presented.
Echoing the national Democrat sentiment of “count every vote,” Democrat candidate for State Representative, District 108 Joanna Cattanach has called for a recount in her race against incumbent Rep. Morgan Meyer. Cattanach lost by just 420 votes, less than 1% of the total vote and far below the state law requirement of 10%. The recount began Tuesday, November 27th, and is expected to continue for three days.
Rep. Morgan Meyer and Rep. Angie Chen Button are the lone Republican State House survivors in Dallas County. The November 6th election flipped five House seats from red to blue. Incumbent Representatives Linda Koop, Rodney Anderson, and Matt Rinaldi all lost their races to Democrats. Challengers Jonathan Boos and Lisa Luby Ryan failed to retain House seats left open by fellow Republicans.
In an interview with DAT, Dallas County Republican Chairwoman, Missy Shorey, vowed to stand with Rep. Meyer, the properly elected “rightful representative of the people.” She said she has dedicated GOP funds to the recount to help with the cost of 3 attorneys to assist in the proceedings. Chairwoman Shorey has also recruited well-trained volunteer poll watchers to observe during the count.
Rep. Meyer needs all the help he can get. Dallas County has been plagued with accusations of Election Fraud. Direct Action Texas filed complaints with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) back in April of 2017. In May of that same year, WFAA and the Dallas Morning News reported on citizens speaking up about vote harvesters attempting to steal their votes. Since then Dallas has been the subject of investigations by Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson and the OAG. Thus far, those investigations have led to one man pleading guilty to mail-in ballot fraud.
Since we filed our complaints in 2017, Dallas County Elections have become more and more opaque. Our latest request to view mail-in ballot applications and carrier envelopes was met with a cost estimate of over $67,000. We were also told our request would take over 9 months to complete. Closer examination of the numbers reveals outlandish estimates of hours for labor. It appears to be an attempt to hide the information from review.
Throughout, Toni Pippins-Poole, Dallas County Elections Administrator, has fought against transparency in her office. Her obfuscation has recently led to lawsuits from the Dallas County Republican Party (DCRP). Republican Ballot Board members identified mail-in ballot carrier envelopes with suspected harvesters named as assistants to the voters. The DCRP went to court and attempted to sequester those ballots and have them reviewed by a judge. Before the judge could make her ruling, the Democrat Ballot Board judge sent those ballot envelopes to be opened and separated from the ballots inside. Even if those votes were later found to be fraudulent, those ballots could never be matched up to their envelopes and removed from the count. Was this another Democrat attempting to “count every vote,” legal or not?
Joanna Cattanach even sued Dallas County Elections because they refused to provide the list of all voters who cast provisional ballots. Could we have avoided this recount if Pippins-Poole had fulfilled the request? It seems both sides have lost faith in the elections department.
The recount has started with the paper ballots cast on Election Day and will then proceed on to the mail-in ballots and provisionals. Cattanach has paid the $7000 deposit for that portion of the recount. It will cost her more to proceed further into Early Voting. The $7000 is just the tip of the iceberg on this recount, though. With all of the attorney fees and sleepless nights for those involved, this will be a costly recount.
It is still unclear if there was any fraud, incompetence, or human errors in this election. One thing is clear, Dallas County needs to re-evaluate its elections department. A lack of transparency breeds suspicion. Dallas County, Texas looks more and more like Broward County, Florida every day.
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.
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.