Elections 2022Beto O’Rourke’s Rallies at Polling Locations May Have Violated Election Laws

Under state law, electioneering is prohibited within 100 feet of a voting precinct's doors.
November 2, 2022
As part of their final push before Election Day, Beto O’Rourke and his campaign have held numerous rallies at early voting polling locations — at least two of which may have violated state law.

On Monday, O’Rourke held a large rally on the steps of the San Juan Memorial Library, one of the multiple precincts in Hidalgo County. Surrounded by individuals in his campaign shirts, O’Rourke delivered his elevator pitch for why he deserves votes over incumbent Greg Abbott.

In a video posted on Twitter by Jorge Ventura of the Daily Caller, GOP candidate for Congressional District 15 Monica De La Cruz was visibly upset about the rally’s location and in which she said, “They are within 100 feet…there is a red line right over there [and] you cannot have people cross that.”

Sec. 61.003 of the Texas Election Code reads: “A person commits an offense if, during the voting period and within 100 feet of an outside door through which a voter may enter the building in which a polling place is located, the person loiters or electioneers for or against any candidate, measure, or political party.”

An offense of such qualifications is a Class C Misdemeanor.

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The very next section of code prohibits the use of a sound amplification device — a megaphone or other type of loudspeaker — within 1,000 feet of a polling location. Catty-corner from the Waco Multi-Purpose Community Center on the grounds of an abandoned building, O’Rourke held a similar rally on October 26 and used a loudspeaker.

Members of the McLennan County GOP filed a complaint against the O’Rourke campaign over this incident, claiming a violation. According to the local party, O’Rourke’s rally was 255 feet from the doors of the precinct.

The Texan was informed by an eyewitness that Tuesday afternoon’s rally, held at the County Annex Building in Harlingen, was just over 100 feet from the precinct’s doors.

Based on a photo and video from the event as well as Google Maps imaging, O’Rourke’s rally in Corpus Christi on October 31 skirted the 100-foot line — with the back end of the crowd extending close to the line if not surpassing it. He did not use a loudspeaker at that event.

The O’Rourke campaign did not respond to questions about the rallies.


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Brad Johnson

Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.