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Tarrant County to be monitored for federal voting complaints on election day

🕐 4 min read

Tarrant County polling places will be among the 35 jurisdictions being monitored for compliance with Federal Voting Rights Laws by the Justice Department on Election Day.

The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department announced on Nov. 5 that it would be deploying personnel to 35 jurisdictions in 19 states. Three counties in Texas will have monitors, Tarrant, Harris and Waller counties.

“Voting rights are constitutional rights, and they’re part of what it means to be an American,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a news release. “The Department of Justice has been entrusted with an indispensable role in securing these rights for the people of this nation. This year we are using every lawful tool that we have, both civil and criminal, to protect the rights of millions of Americans to cast their vote unimpeded at one of more than 170,000 precincts across America. Citizens of America control this country through their selection of their governmental officials at the ballot box. Likewise, fraud in the voting process will not be tolerated. Fraud also corrupts the integrity of the ballot.”

In October, the Texas Attorney General’s office announced that four women in Tarrant County were indicted on 30 felony counts of voter fraud connected to activity in 2016.

Leticia Sanchez was indicted on one court of illegal voting, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. She was also charged with providing false information on an application for mail-in ballots.

Also facing state jail felony charges for providing false information on mail-in ballot applications are Leticia Sanchez Tepichin, 10 counts; Maria Solis, two counts and Laura Parra, one count.

The women were part of an organized voter fraud ring and were paid to target elderly voters in some Northside Fort Worth precincts to generate mail-in ballots and then “harvest” the ballots to certain candidates, according to Paxton’s office.

State and local governments have primary responsibility for administering elections in the United States. The Civil Rights Division is charged with enforcing the federal voting rights laws that protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day. Since the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, the Division has regularly monitored all kinds of elections in the field around the country throughout every year to protect the rights of all voters, and not just in federal general elections. On Nov. 6, the Division again will be monitoring in the field around the country.

On Election Day, the Division staff members will be available all day by telephone to receive complaints from the public related to possible violations of the federal voting rights laws (1-800-253-3931 toll free or 202-307-2767 or TTY 202-305-0082). In addition, individuals may also report complaints by fax to 202-307-3961, by email to voting.section@usdoj.gov(link sends e-mail), and by a complaint form on the Department’s website: www.justice.gov/crt/votercomplaint.

On Election Day, the Civil Rights Division plans to deploy personnel to 35 jurisdictions in 19 states to monitor for compliance with the federal voting rights laws:

• Bethel Census Area, Alaska;

• Dillingham Census Area, Alaska;

• Kusilvak Census Area, Alaska;

• Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area, Alaska;

• Apache County, Arizona;

• Cochise County, Arizona;

• Maricopa County, Arizona;

• Navajo County, Arizona;

• Sacramento County, California;

• San Mateo County, California;

• DeSoto County, Florida;

• Palm Beach County, Florida;

• Pinellas County, Florida;

• Fulton County, Georgia;

• Gwinnett County, Georgia;

• Buena Vista County, Iowa;

• Ford County, Kansas;

• Lowell, Massachusetts;

• Malden, Massachusetts;

• Clark County, Nevada;

• Washoe County, Nevada;

• Middlesex County, New Jersey;

• Union County, New Jersey;

• Erie County, New York;

• Benson County, North Dakota;

• Rolette County, North Dakota;

• Texas County, Oklahoma;

• Lehigh County, Pennsylvania;

• Pawtucket, Rhode Island;

• Buffalo County, South Dakota;

• Harris County, Texas;

• Tarrant County, Texas;

• Waller County, Texas;

• San Juan County, Utah; and

• Fairfax County, Virginia.

The Civil Rights Division will gather information on, among other things, whether voters are subject to different voting qualifications or procedures on the basis of race, color or membership in a language minority group; whether jurisdictions are complying with the language minority provisions of the Voting Rights Act; whether jurisdictions permit a voter to receive assistance by a person of his or her choice if the voter has a disability or is unable to read or write; whether jurisdictions provide polling locations and voting systems allowing voters with disabilities to cast a private and independent ballot; whether jurisdictions comply with the voter registration list requirements of the National Voter Registration Act; and whether jurisdictions comply with the provisional ballot requirements of the Help America Vote Act. Division personnel will also maintain contact with local election officials.

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