Elderly voters in Grand Prairie are reporting that someone fraudulently requested mail ballots using their names. Those reports follow similar complaints from voters in West Dallas who received mail ballots they didn’t request.

Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole says about three dozen Grand Prairie voters and more than 60 West Dallas residents have complained to her office about getting mail ballots for the May local elections that were fraudulently requested.

“We’ve never received this many complaints,” she said.

Here’s how the vote-harvesting scheme operates:

A suspicious man has shown up in both places offering elderly residents “assistance” with their mail-in ballots, raising the possibility that he could tamper with the ballots. . .

The man knocked on the residents’ doors and in some cases identified himself as a Dallas County elections department employee there to help them with the mail-in ballots they had requested, Pippins-Poole said. But the residents who complained said they hadn’t requested mail-in ballots. Others reported receiving mail-in ballots but no visits from the man.

Pippins-Poole says her office has given the man’s name and information to authorities for criminal investigation.

Watchdog group Direct Action Texas (DAT) is investigating what they believe to be illegal activity in numerous past elections in Dallas County and elsewhere around the state. All cases involve the same scheme: political operatives preying on mostly elderly, low-income people via the mail ballot process. DAT’s executive director Aaron Harris issued a warning to anyone in the business of illegal vote harvesting:

“You need to really think about what you’re doing, because we’re going to expose it,” Harris said. “If you are doing this, the odds of you getting a complaint against you in the near future are very high. We’re not going to stop.”

Following the complaints out of West Dallas, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and State Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) claimed to be “deeply troubled” by reports of potential voter fraud.

The Dallas Morning News also acknowledged mail ballot voter fraud as a real problem that the Texas Legislature needs to address.

Whether or not city hall, county elections officials, or state lawmakers will do anything to help ensure election integrity and discourage fraud remains to be seen. Voters should insist that they do.

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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.