in Houston, Texas
Hidalgo County election commissioners pushing back against pervasive voter fraud
Monday, Apr 18, 2011, 05:32PM CST
By Steve Miller
vote

Voters in Hidalgo County would have to meet stricter requirements to have someone assist them at the polls under a move election commissioners are pushing to stem voter fraud in this South Texas county were the crime has been pervasive.

 

A story in The Monitor reports that the Hidalgo County Elections Commission has voted to push forward with the idea, according to County Judge Ramon Garcia.

 

Under the order:


“…The elections judge would ask the voter “Do you have a physical disability that renders you unable to write or see? Are you unable to read the language in which the ballot is written?” Garcia said.  Elections judges, however, could not ask additional questions.

If the voter answered no, admitting that he or she does not fit the requirements for assistance, then the elections judge would have the voter use a provisional ballot so he or she could be identified for prosecution if need be…”


Election law allows for assistance at the polls in the case of a voter who cannot see or read the language of the ballot. Most parts of Texas have bilingual programs for elections, printing ballots in English and Spanish as well as other languages where needed.


Hildalgo County District Attorney René Guerra told the newspaper that voter fraud is difficult to police and encouraged anyone looking at the issue to take it up with a state legislator.

 

He also said the Elections Commission and the Hidalgo County Commissioners Court do not have the power to change voting policy and that they should focus on working with the state legislature to change voter assistance laws altogether.


State Rep. Aaron Peña, R-Edinburg, has introduced several measures he hopes will combat voter fraud this session in Austin.

 

Among them is House Bill 2051, which changes the state Election Code to ensure that someone assisting a voter is not that voter’s employer, in order to stem possible influence on a vote.  Under the bill, an assistant would be required to assert under oath that he or she is not an employer or agent of the employer before assisting the voter.

 

Another Peña bill,  House Bill 304,  requires the person providing the assistance to show a photo ID and to be a registered voter of that county. 

 

Both bills are in committee.

 

***

Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.


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