A criminal complaint alleging illegal vote harvesting by multiple elected officials and canvassers in Dallas County was filed today with the Texas Secretary of State’s office by Direct Action Texas, an organization focused on government accountability in the Metroplex.

The complaint should come as no surprise to anyone who follows Dallas County politics, according to DAT’s executive director Aaron Harris.

“Dallas County is home to Domingo Garcia, the Medranos – one of which was removed from office in 2010 for having won through ballot harvesting, former State Rep. Terri Hodge who was convicted of election fraud, and many other known shady characters,” said Harris.

DAT confirmed that Hodge is again very active in vote harvesting and a is “major player” in the evidence it has compiled.

“While Dallas’ reputation precedes it, now we have hard evidence and we eagerly await the next actions by law enforcement,” Harris said.

Dozens of elderly West Dallas residents think they have evidence of their own that someone is trying to steal their votes after they received mail ballots they never applied for. One of those voters, 81-year-old Alice Washington, says she doesn’t vote by mail and never requested a mail ballot. “I go to the poll and vote,” Washington told Dallas’ WFAA on Monday.

Washington’s niece, Barbara Roberson, called the Dallas County Elections office to investigate. She told them her aunt never saw or signed the form. “Someone forged her signature,” Roberson explained.

When shown a copy of the mail ballot application sent her by the elections office, Washington confirmed, “That’s not my signature.”

Washington isn’t the only victim of this latest attempt to steal votes by forging ballot applications. She and Roberson say their neighbors are also getting mail ballots they didn’t request, and they believe the problem is widespread in West Dallas’ District 6.

Pastor James Armstrong of Community Fellowship Church in West Dallas is also concerned about possible voter fraud in the community. Armstrong said Monday at least ten members of his church, all senior citizens, also filed complaints with the Dallas County Elections office after they received ballots for the upcoming May 6 election they didn’t apply for.

“West Dallas has a history of being taken advantage of and it’s really unbelievable that in 2017 we are still being disenfranchised,” Armstrong said.

Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole said her office has so far received about 36 reports of questionable mail ballots this election cycle and is working with the office of Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson to review the complaints.

West Dallas saw dozens of complaints of mail ballot fraud in the November 2016 general election as well. At least 15 mostly elderly voters at one polling location, and more than 20 at another, were told by poll workers on Election Day that they had already voted by mail. They hadn’t; someone else had fraudulently requested and cast mail ballots in their names.

Residents reported seeing voter forms stolen out of deceased voters’ mailboxes, as well as elderly voters coerced or tricked into signing mail ballot applications by aggressive canvassers.

This activity isn’t only happening in Dallas County. Neighboring Tarrant County is already the target of another DAT-instigated investigation into illegal mail ballot harvesting. It’s thought to be the largest voter fraud investigation in Texas history, involving as many as 20,000 ballots.

Harris said in a statement on the Tarrant County scheme:

This vote harvesting operation preys on the elderly and the economically disadvantaged, who are among our most vulnerable neighbors…

This research has uncovered major flaws in the election code and its enforcement. We were happy to assist the AG’s office in their investigation. Given the magnitude of this issue, we must reform the election code to restore the integrity of the process.

DAT has now filed election integrity complaints in four Texas counties. Active criminal investigations by the Texas Attorney General’s office are ongoing in Hill, Harrison, and Tarrant.

“The fact that we have looked into four counties and found election fraud in all four counties should be concerning to all Texans,” Harris said.

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Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.