In a video on Wednesday, Republican Dallas County Commissioner J.J. Koch accused the county elections department of sneaky partisanship and warned voters to “pack a lunch” if they plan to vote on Election Day, predicting that there could be long waits as the county adjusts to new equipment features and social distancing.
Koch criticized a $15.1 million grant to the Dallas County Elections Department from a Zuckerberg-funded nonprofit, characterizing the funding as support for “thinly veiled” get-out-the-vote efforts for Democrats.
“[Dallas County Votes] is asking for essentially Democrat targeting. They want … Democrat get-out-the-vote dollars from the county government,” Koch said.
At the commissioners’ court meeting on Wednesday, Koch told commissioners that he had witnessed reports of “screaming and crying” in the elections department, and bewailed reports that in Dallas County less than half of the requested mail-in ballots had been sent to voters.
He also referenced a new messaging feature in the polling software that could create a “logjam” at polling places in the event that the feature malfunctions.
Toni Pippins-Poole, the county’s election administrator, announced earlier this year that she will leave office after the election. Pippins-Poole has been criticized for mismanaging the Dallas County Elections Department, including a $6 million polling software mistake.
Commissioner John Wiley Price (D-District 3) gave a presentation detailing polling locations, social distancing protocols, and other election logistics for Dallas County, indicating that the county is prepared for the election.
Price asserted that there has been misinformation about the capability of the Dallas County Elections Department to handle this year’s mail-in balloting.
“Just because it’s on the internet, does not make it correct,” Price said.
Commissioner Theresa Daniel (D-District 1) agreed with the misinformation point, saying that her constituents sometimes see reports of problems from other jurisdictions and don’t realize that the reported problems are not occurring in Dallas County.
Koch contended that experienced court members have seen enough successful elections that they’ve possibly been “lulled into a false sense of security.”
“We have multiple things that are extraordinarily different, not just because of coronavirus, we have a very different election system regarding the machines,” Koch said. “There’s enough that we’re juggling that the plan may be insufficient.”
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.