Following a months-long election fraud investigation that found violations of the Election Code, Texas’ top lawyer is warning that “inadequate safeguards” are in place to protect the integrity of our state’s elections.
Texas Scorecard has reported on an investigation launched by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of alleged voter fraud in Hill County. This investigation came after the grassroots organization Direct Action Texas filed complaints showing vote totals in the 2016 primary election significantly exceeded the number of voters who participated.
Those allegations, in combination with the close margin in the Republican primary between State Rep. Byron Cook (R–Corsicana) and his conservative challenger, Corsicana businessman Thomas McNutt, brought statewide attention to Hill County.
Now, in a letter responding to State Sen. Bob Hall (R–Edgewood), the Attorney General’s office has concluded that violations of the Election Code indeed occurred, but they are being attributed to errors rather than fraud.
In short, we found that a series of negligent errors on the part of election officials caused the skewed ballot count. We uncovered no evidence that the acts were fraudulent despite violations of the Election Code occurring. Nonetheless, this case highlights that inadequate safeguards exist to prevent such errors in future elections.
The letter goes on to explain that election officials failed to clear some voting machines, miscounted ballots, and added Democrat voters to Republican voter lists. Some early and provisional ballots were not even added to the list.
The most concerning takeaway? This problem appears be happening everywhere. Those mistakes make Texas fertile ground for voter fraud.
The report encourages lawmakers to consider legislation to prevent certification of election results when the reported number of ballots cast exceeds the number of voters. A study by the Texas Senate Research Center and the Texas Legislative Council, and cited by Direct Action Texas, found that similar discrepancies existed in 249 of the state’s 254 counties during the March 2016 primary election alone.
This warning should concern every Texan who cares about the integrity of the ballot box. When negligence and errors are this widespread, those who seek to steal elections have ample opportunity to cloak their actions in incompetence.
An environment that dismisses small discrepancies (or even large ones, as was the case in Hill County) is ripe for corruption. Voters cannot and should not accept this pattern of behavior in our elections. The legislature must take action on this issue, and Texas election officials must be more vigilant, or else citizens will rightly lose confidence in our election process.
Citizens interested in preserving election integrity should demand their local county and party officials, responsible for ensuring the numbers match up, do their jobs. The total number of votes should always match the total number of voters. To approve any other result is grossly negligent.
But what can citizens themselves do about this problem?
It’s axiomatic in sports that teams who complain about the referees stealing the game are guilty of failing to run up the score. It’s just the same with elections. History shows that elections are only capable of being stolen when they are close to begin with. These discrepancies underscore and reaffirm the importance of going to the polls and voting … and taking two or three friends or family members along.
Conservative Texans don’t just face opposition from liberals and Democrats – we often find we’re up against the election system itself. While this is worthy of reform, conservatives will never be in a position to do so if we don’t win first. That means conservative Texans must show up to vote – and in larger numbers than ever before. Otherwise, we are asking for our elections – and our government – to be stolen.