Due to the magnitude of the fraud Direct Action Texas has uncovered over the last 2 years, we have been calling for sensible reforms to come out of Austin. One of these is a bill authored by Representative Mike Schofield (R-Katy). House Bill 2139 would allow prosecutors to treat organized election fraud activity the same way it would treat other forms of organized crime, raising each penalty level one degree. Testimonies given in the House Committee on Elections revealed overwhelming bipartisan support.
Stealing votes through mail-in ballot harvesting is not unique to Tarrant County, or even Texas. Last fall, a harvesting scheme was uncovered in St. Louis, Missouri. Candidate for State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr. was the victim of this type of fraud in his race against incumbent State Rep. Penny Hubbard. Numerous ballots were found to be fraudulent. His race was stolen.
In 2014, a Texas judge blocked former State Rep. Lon Burnam from viewing suspicious applications and ballot envelopes he claimed led to his re-election defeat. Burnam alleged that hundreds of applications for ballot-by-mail were submitted with fraudulent electronic signatures.
The use of electronic signatures is a preferred tool of illegal vote-harvesters. It allows them to capture hundreds of signatures on iPads under the guise of a fake “petition drive,” unrelated to any candidate election. Then they digitally insert those signatures onto ballot by mail applications year after year, which are then faxed into the local county elections office.
Imagine you are a candidate for office. The votes are in and you are just 50 votes short of victory. Your race was fiercely competitive and you suspect fraud in the results. You requested a recount already, it came out with the same results. If there is fraud, it must be in the mail-in ballots. What do you do?
Contesting an election is costly and time consuming so a candidate needs all the information possible to determine if he or she should proceed. One of the first things a candidate will want to see are the mail in ballots and applications. (For reasoning behind this: The Fort Worth Way) This sounds like a reasonable request, right? Not so fast. There are a few pieces of the Election Code blocking the way.
Those who’ve spent any considerable time talking with Tarrant County’s political insiders will likely hear about “The Fort Worth Way.” They will tell you that’s how elections are won and lost in the city “where the west begins.” Everyone who is anyone in Fort Worth politics knows the game and how it’s played. Most of them have been playing it for years and – in some cases – decades. The simple truth is, “The Fort Worth Way” is election fraud. It runs as deep as the Trinity, and it’s just as dirty.