Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced that his office sent a letter to state Senator Bryan Hughes, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Election Integrity, announcing a significant voter fraud initiative and addressing key problems and policy areas related to election law. The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) also stands ready to assist Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar in the fight against voter fraud, and fully supports his efforts to educate the county’s citizens on existing and amended voting laws.
The letter to Senator Hughes highlights the lack of safeguards in the voting system to detect ineligible voters, discusses additional potential measures to address to mail-in ballot fraud, and addresses the use of public funds for political activity. The letter also discusses a specific investigation of four counties where 165 unlawfully registered non-citizens had been removed from the voter rolls after casting 100 illegal votes in Texas elections in the last two years. The OAG also discovered that the legal process for removing ineligible voters who self-report is not being followed correctly, if at all, in various counties. Several investigations into ineligible voting and voter fraud are ongoing.
Some of the remedial measures the OAG raised to Chairman Hughes include requiring notice of non-citizens’ removal from voter rolls, increasing the penalty for false statements on voter registration applications, and requiring election officials to report fraudulent voting activity to all relevant state and local authorities.
DA Escobar’s concerns include mail-in ballot application fraud, unlawful influencing of voters, unlawful mail ballot collection by vote harvesters, and illegal voting by non-residents and non-citizens. There have been two arrests in an ongoing investigation by Escobar’s office into mail ballot voter fraud in the Rio Grande Valley. Senate Bill 5, enacted by the Texas Legislature last session, made it a state jail felony to provide false information on a ballot application or submit an application without a voter’s permission.
“It is an honor that District Attorney Escobar invited my office to assist him with both enforcement and education. We will do everything within our abilities and resources to solidify trust in the voting process, and we hope that Chairman Hughes will consider important legal remedies to this state-wide issue,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Voting for our elected leaders is a solemn right the American people hold. We must protect the integrity of that process.”
View the letter to DA Escobar (PDF).