in Houston, Texas
Texas' vague residency rules may hurt potential voter fraud case in Upshur County
Thursday, Aug 02, 2012, 12:34PM CST
By Curt Olson

Voter residency isn’t always what it seems.

This could be the flaw in charges of potential voter fraud in Upshur County, as reported by the Longview News-Journal.

Upshur County Republican party Chairman Ken Ambrose has filed a complaint with the Texas Office of Attorney General regarding possible voter fraud in the May primary. He contends at least six people participated in early in the May election who had questionable addresses. He said two of those in question, Lloyd Glenn Leach and Ken Patterson, will soon be former county GOP precinct chairmen.

Ambrose contends Leach’s residence was in foreclosed and Patterson’s residence is a home that has been vacant for several years, as the News-Journal reports.

Ambrose wants help from the AG to know how to stop people from voting in the county where they don’t have proper residency.

However, this could be where Ambrose’s complaint dies, as Texas Watchdog has reported on voter residency in the past here and here.

Texas has a  broad definition of “residency” in state code. Residency can be determined by the voter. Here is the rule in law:

"'Residence' means domicile, that is, one's home and fixed place of habitation to which one intends to return after any temporary absence.”

Voter residency complaints can be taken to election officials, and could end up in court, but this rarely happens, Watchdog’s Steve Miller has reported.

Attorney General Greg Abbott has said he has prosecuted 50 voter fraud cases, but they involve incidents of voting by dead people, those who vote twice and foreign nationals who are illegally registered to vote.

Contact Curt Olson at or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.

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Photo of 'Voting 1' by Flickr user Cle0patra, via the Creative Commons license.

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