Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced charges Thursday against four people, including a county commissioner, for allegedly carrying out a mail ballot fraud scheme in the 2018 Democratic primary.
Gregg County Commissioner Shannon Brown and three others “targeted young, able-bodied voters to cast ballots by mail by fraudulently claiming the voters were ‘disabled,’ in most cases without the voters’ knowledge or consent,” as part of a vote harvesting scheme meant to swing the primary to Brown, according to a press release from Paxton’s office.
Brown, a first-term county commissioner, won his primary by five votes after mail-in ballots erased the 19 percent lead his opponent held after early and election day votes were tallied, the Longview News-Journal reported in March 2018.
The state filed a total of 123 felony charges against the four defendants, including organized election fraud, illegal voting, fraudulent use of an application for a mail-in ballot and election fraud, according to the indictments.
Election fraud, particularly an organized mail ballot fraud scheme orchestrated by political operatives, is an affront to democracy and results in voter disenfranchisement and corruption at the highest level.https://t.co/LXdYZurYgj
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) September 24, 2020
“It is an unfortunate reality that elections can be stolen outright by mail ballot fraud. Election fraud, particularly an organized mail ballot fraud scheme orchestrated by political operatives, is an affront to democracy and results in voter disenfranchisement and corruption at the highest level,” Paxton said in a statement released by his office.
“Mail ballots are vulnerable to diversion, coercion, and influence by organized vote harvesting schemes,” added Paxton.
Brown’s office didn’t immediately return a request for comment.