Records from the Texas Attorney General regarding communications with voter fraud activists, including calendars indicating meetings with the organization True the Vote. These records date from 2017 through 2018. American Oversight sought these communications to determine if outside groups have coordinated with Texas government officials in voter suppression efforts leading up to the 2018 election.
In these documents:
Pages 3–4: Brantley Starr, Steve Pier, and Jeff Mateer — attorneys working in the office of the attorney general of Texas at the time — had a scheduled meeting with True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht on March 13, 2017. The meeting subject is recorded as “re: SB-5,” likely a reference to a state Senate bill concerning voter identification procedures.
Mateer and Starr were both nominated by President Donald Trump to judicial offices in 2017 and 2019, respectively. Starr currently serves as a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, while Mateer’s nomination was dropped by the White House at the end of 2017.
True the Vote is a Houston-based “election integrity” group, associated with the Tea Party and the King Street Patriots. True the Vote is also affiliated with VoteStand, a mobile app that allows individuals to document possible incidents of voter fraud and suspicious activity at polling locations.
A second conference call was scheduled to take place between Mateer and Engelbrecht on March 5, 2018.
Pages 7–12: A meeting including Pier, Starr, and Donald Palmer, then a fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center, was confirmed for September 6, 2018. Palmer provided a memo for the meeting, which mentioned the need for online voter registration and said, “Online Voter Registration Will Confirm Identity, Citizenship, and Residency” and “Online Voter Registration is endorsed by Republicans.”
Palmer previously served as the secretary of the Virginia State Board of Elections secretary, which in 2014, during his tenure, voted to make voter identification requirements stricter. That same year, the Virginia Department of Elections mistakenly sent 125,000 Virginia voters notifications that they may no longer be eligible to vote. Palmer also provided testimony for Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Trump nominated Palmer to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission in July 2018 and he was confirmed in January 2019.