In the Documents: Texas Elections Officials’ Close Ties to ‘Voter Fraud’ Activists

En Español

As multiple reports of voter suppression and voting system vulnerability continue to emerge from Texas, new documents obtained by American Oversight offer an inside look at the troublingly close relationships between election officials and voting-restriction advocates in the Lone Star State.

The documents, obtained through public records requests as part of our State Accountability Project, include emails from Hans von Spakovsky, who runs the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative. Spakovsky asks the Texas secretary of state’s office for help with his organization’s “ongoing election integrity initiative,” a database of alleged examples of voter fraud. Spakovsky boasts that the database contains “1,132 instances” already, “including several from Texas.”

Emails also confirm that Texas Elections Director Keith Ingram attended a February 2019 Heritage Foundation election briefing, the same month he was elected president of the National Association of Election Directors. 

Additional documents from mid-2018 to early 2019 contain text messages between Texas State Senator Bryan Hughes and Ingram. In the texts, Hughes sends Ingram a screenshot of a tweet that contains photos of a fake voter guide alleged to have been distributed at a megachurch in Texas, and a link to “real voter guides” available from Vision America, a conservative American Christian organization. Below the screenshot, Hughes says that he expects that Ingram will “be receiving an election law complaint on this,” and that Brantley Starr, a Trump-appointed U.S. district judge, “is ready for it.” 

Other documents from the Texas attorney general’s office contain 2017 meetings between Judge Brantley Starr and Catherine Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht is the founder of True the Vote, a conservative voting-restriction advocacy group that was investigated by Congress in 2010 for voter suppression

Perhaps even more concerning are records from Starr County, which reveal that Texas election officials were subject to three phishing attempts in the six months leading up to the 2018 midterm elections. Directives obtained by American Oversight show that Ingram issued several directives warning officials of these attempts, and even created an email address where officials could report phishing attempts. 

As more sophisticated cyber-attack methods are developed by the day, voting system vulnerability remains a nationwide threat to democracy in advance of the 2020 election —  especially in the country’s second-most populous state. 

American Oversight continues to investigate state-level threats to democracy in Texas, Florida, and Georgia. More information about our ongoing investigations is available here

 

En los Documentos: Oficiales de Elecciones Tienen Vínculos Íntimos con Activistas de “Fraude Electoral”

Mientras informes sobre suppression de los votantes y vulnerabilidad de sistemas electorales siguen a surgir de Texas, documentos nuevos obtenido por American Oversight ofrecen un visto a los vínculos íntimos entre oficiales de elecciones y defensores de las restricciones al voto en el estado conocido como La Estrella Solitaria. 

Los documentos, obtenido por medio de solicitudes de registros públicos como un parte de nuestro proyecto de responsabilidad estatal, incluyen correos electrónicos de Hans von Spakovsky, quien maneja la  Iniciativa de Reforma Electoral de el Heritage Foundation. Spakovsky pide la oficina del secretario de estado para ayuda con un initiative de su organización, un base de datos para ejemplos de “fraude del voto” presunto. Spakovsky presume que el base de dato ya tiene “1,132” ejemplos, incluye varios de Texas.  

Los correos electrónicos también confirman que el director de elecciones en Texas, Keith Ingram, asistió un sesión informativa del Heritage Foundation sobre elecciones en el febrero de 2019, el mismo mes en que fue elegido presidente del National Association of Election Directors. 

Adjuntos documentos desde el mitad de 2018 hasta principios de 2019 tienen mensajes de texto entre Senator del estado de Texas Bryan Hughes y Ingram. En los textos, Hughes envía una captura de pantalla de un tweet. El tweet tiene un foto de un guía de voto falso que han distribuido a un mega-iglesia en Texas, y un enlace a un “guía de voto real” de Vision América, una organización conservativa y christiana. Debajo de la captura de pantalla, Hughes dice que espera que Ingram va a recibir una queja de ley electoral sobre las guías falsas. También dice que Brantley Starr, un juez del tribunal de distrito y un designado de Trump, es “listo para eso.”

Otros documentos de la oficina de fiscal general incluyen reuniones entre Juez Brantley Starr y Catherine Engelbrecht. Engelbrecht es la fundadora de True the Vote, un grupo conservativo de promoción de restricción de votación que fue investigado del Congreso en 2010 por supresión del voto.

Quizás más inquietante, los documentos de Starr Condado revela que los oficiales de elecciones fueron susceptible a tres intentos de phishing en las seis meses antes de los elecciones de mitad. Directivos obtenido por American Oversight demuestran que Ingram envían varias advertencias sobre estos intentos, y creado un correo electrónico donde oficiales pueden informar los intentos. 

Como ataques informáticos más sofisticado continúan todos los días, vulnerabilidad de los sistemas de votación estará una amenaza a democracia en avance de los elecciones de 2020– especialmente en el estado segundo más populoso.

American Oversight seguimos investigando las amenazas a la democracia en el nivel de estado en Texas, Georgia, y Florida. Más información sobre nuestras investigaciones está disponible aquí.

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