The two testimonials specifically name state Senator Boris Miles (D-Houston) and Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis (D-Pct. 1) as leaders of an election fraud scheme that involves stealing absentee ballots from nursing homes and forging voter signatures.
Another individual named is Dallas Jones, a political operative overseeing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s Harris County operation.
A former FBI agent and now private investigator writes in his sworn testimony that he has investigated ballot harvesting allegations since December of 2019 after two individuals told him they had witnessed illegal ballot harvesting activity.
The investigator says that witnesses have accused Miles and Ellis of orchestrating the scheme, and allege that the two are assisted by Houston businessman Gerald Womack and political consultant Dallas Jones, who they describe as “chief lieutenants.”
Dallas Jones previously served as district director for both state Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) and then state Senator Rodney Ellis, but was recently named the Texas political director for the Biden-Harris presidential campaign.
According to the testimony, ballot harvesters collect absentee ballots from “the elderly in nursing homes, from the homeless, and from unsuspecting residences’ mailboxes.” They then complete the ballots and forge the signature of the voter.
Witnesses also told the investigator that two employees in the Harris County Clerk’s office are facilitating the operation and working to mix the forged ballots in with legally submitted ballots.
The affidavit also alleges that previous county Clerk Diane Trautman, who abruptly resigned in May, was aware of the illegal activities and investigation and told Ellis she was concerned about being arrested for election fraud.
The other testimony, delivered by a former Houston police officer, asserts explicitly that he has videotaped corroboration of these claims.
Mail-in ballots have become a flashpoint issue as officials have issued orders that would enable voters to avoid visiting precincts in person. Opponents, including Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, warn that voter fraud will compound along with a mail-in voting expansion.
The attorney general’s office has prosecuted 457 instances of fraud since 2004. Voter fraud occurs, but it is generally not carried out to the extent necessary to swing something like a presidential election.
However, it can swing lower-level races that have much smaller margins. For example, last week a Gregg County commissioner and his conspirators were indicted on 137 counts of voter fraud during a 2018 primary election the official won by only five votes.
Earlier this year, the Texas Secretary of State referred a complaint of ballot harvesting in Harris County uncovered by local activist Colleen Vera to Paxton’s office for a full investigation.
Tangentially, Harris County Interim Clerk Chris Hollins has been sued for sending out mail-in ballot applications to all voters, regardless of their eligibility to meet Texas’ requirements.
Last week, ballot security chairman for the Harris County Republican Party Alan Vera emailed Hollins to point out that the county was incorrectly training election workers accepting mail ballots.
Hollins’ staff told workers to match mail ballot signatures to application signatures, but as Vera noted, the law requires workers to match both the application and the ballot signatures to voter signatures already on file in county records.
In an email chain obtained by The Texan, Texas Secretary of State’s Director of Elections Keith Ingram confirmed to Hollins and Vera that code requires elections personnel to compare both application and ballot signatures with voter signatures previously on file with the county.
SCOTX is currently reviewing the case with early voting set to begin on October 13.
View the affidavits below.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misidentified the lawsuit as a class-action, and the original source cited the wrong case as the one associated with the affidavits. We regret the errors.
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Holly Hansen is a freelance writer living in Harris County. Her former column, “All In Perspective” ran in The Georgetown Advocate, Jarrell Star Ledger, and The Hill Country News, and she has contributed to a variety of Texas digital media outlets. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Central Florida with a degree in History, and in addition to writing about politics and policy, also writes about faith and culture.