Voter fraud has become a key focus for statehouse Republicans this session. And Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says election security is one of his office’s top priorities. But a new analysis from the American Civil Liberties Union, or ACLU, claims the Texas AG’s office appears to be targeting people of color at disproportionate rates.
Taylor Goldenstein is an Austin bureau reporter for the San Antonio Express-News and the Houston Chronicle. She told Texas Standard the ACLU found that at least 72% of election fraud cases brought by the attorney general’s office have targeted Black and Latino defendants, most of them women.
“In addition, they looked at the areas the defendants came from and found that 86% of the prosecutions involved offenses that allegedly happened in counties with mostly nonwhite and Latino populations,” Goldenstein said.
One of the most high-profile fraud cases in Texas involved Crystal Mason. She was sentenced to five years in prison for casting a provisional ballot in the 2016 election. She was ineligible to vote, and her vote wasn’t counted.
In testimony before the Texas House Elections Committee, an assistant attorney general said the office was prosecuting 500 cases of voter fraud. In fact, the office currently has 43 separate cases of alleged voter fraud pending, including a total of 500 counts. Goldenstein says the AG’s office has not responded to requests for comment on what appears to be an exaggeration of the number of individuals facing voter fraud accusations.
Texas lawmakers are currently considering bills that would limit early voting, expand penalties for those who make mistakes on election documents and require people with disabilities to prove their impairment before casting a ballot by mail. People with disabilities are currently able to vote by mail, but are not required to show proof of a disability.