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Dishonest Republican voter fraud solutions

ERIC JOHNSON | 6/27/2017, 10:56 a.m.
Recent cases of voter fraud in West Dallas in which senior citizens have been defrauded out of their votes have ...
Rep. Eric Johnson of the Texas House of Representatives. Official photo

Texas House of Representatives

Recent cases of voter fraud in West Dallas in which senior citizens have been defrauded out of their votes have gained statewide attention, especially from Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott. The actions that have been taken by individuals to steal the votes of our seniors amounts to elder abuse and should be prosecuted as such.

Abbott has named mail-in ballot voter fraud as one of the 20 items on the call for the special session that will convene on July 18. While it is great to see key individuals in this state paying attention to such a serious matter, even when our own Dallas County Democratic Party waited many weeks before admitting there was a problem, it is important to have a certain amount of skepticism towards Republican attempts to address voter fraud.

Minorities in the state of Texas have faced numerous attacks on their voting rights by Republican leaders over the last several years. In the past, Republicans have passed laws like the infamous voter ID law, which they claimed was an attempt to address in-person voter impersonation, something Republicans deemed a “real problem” in the state of Texas.

The Brennan Center easily debunked this myth. They found that over the course of 12 years, there was only one conviction of in-person voter impersonation in Texas out of more than 20 million votes cast. This is the only type of voter fraud a voter ID law would be able to prevent. A federal court struck down the law, citing that it was passed with the intent to discriminate against minority voters.

The 2011 voter ID law is only one example of the many cases in which Republican leaders have disenfranchised minority voters. Since 2011, six federal rulings have found that the Legislature has intentionally discriminated against minority voters. It is clear the Legislature cannot be trusted when it comes to protecting – not violating – voting rights.

Republican leaders are going to try to act in the eleventh hour during a special session to address the issue of mail-in ballot fraud. While this type of voter fraud is a real and deplorable practice that needs to be stopped, we must ensure that any changes made to the law do not result in the disenfranchisement of our senior voters.

State Rep. Eric Johnson represents District 100, which includes parts of Dallas and Mesquite, in the Texas House of Representatives. He serves on three prominent committees: he is Vice Chair of the House Committee on Economic and Small Business Development, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, and a member of the powerful House Calendars Committee.