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Was Trump right about mail-in ballots?
Of course he was —>
Twitter purported Tuesday to “fact check” two tweets by President Trump in which the president pointed out – accurately – that mail-in ballots present substantial risks of election fraud.
Below the president’s tweets, Twitter added a disclaimer: “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” The disclaimer states that “there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud,” and links to articles – including pieces published by The Washington Post, CNN and NBC – calling Trump’s claim “unsubstantiated.”
In 2007, during a spirited debate over photo ID legislation while I was in the Texas Legislature, a Democratic lawmaker from Dallas objected to the bill on the grounds that it allowed voting by mail to proceed without photo identification.
The legislator said: “Vote by mail, that we know, is the greatest source of voter fraud in this state. In fact, all of the prosecutions by the attorney general – I shouldn’t say all, but a great majority of the prosecutions by the attorney general occur with respect to vote by mail.”
As the official now charged with prosecuting election fraud in Texas, I can say unequivocally that the legislator was right: going back more than a decade and continuing through the present day, around two-thirds of election fraud offenses prosecuted by my office have involved some form of mail-ballot fraud.
These prosecutions include instances of forgery and falsification of ballots.
One man pleaded guilty after forging 1,200 mail-in ballot applications, resulting in 700 suspected fraudulent votes in a 2017 Dallas election. He was identified after a voter, whose ballot he harvested, snapped a photo of him on her cellphone.
“Authentic” signatures are also collected from voters, either under false pretenses or by experienced harvesters who confidently gain compliance from voters, as illustrated in a video that surfaced during the 2018 primary in the Houston area.
The anonymous video appears to show how easily a ballot application and signature were collected from a voter by a campaign worker in less than 20 seconds. After providing her signature, the voter asked the worker: “Is this legal, what you’re doing?” The worker replied: “Yes, ma’am, we’ve done 400 already.”
In South Texas, a former U.S. Postal Service employee was convicted of bribery in a federal prosecution in 2017 for selling a list of absentee voters to vote harvesters for $1,200.
Once mail ballots go out, harvesters show up at a voter’s door and engage the voter to provide “voting assistance.” The variations are endless, but a common practice involves giving the voter the impression that the harvester is an election official.
Whatever the case, successful vote harvesters leave with a voter’s signature and a ballot that is either blank, voted in the way the harvester wants, or that can be modified (or disposed of) later.