Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Tuesday that his election-fraud unit is investigating what he called a “shocking” election-fraud scheme shown in a hidden-camera investigation released by Project Veritas.
The 18-minute expose showed a female “ballot chaser” in San Antonio describing an elaborate multi-person operation involving thousands of voters in which she convinces them to vote for her candidates, helps them change their ballots, picks up and drops off ballots, and even gives voters gifts.
The video showed her arriving at an elderly woman’s house and challenging her vote for Republican Sen. John Cornyn, then showing her how to alter her ballot to vote for Democrat Senate candidate M.J. Hegar instead. The “ballot chaser” then gave the woman a shawl.
“What’s shown in the video is shocking and should alarm all Texans who care about election integrity,” Mr. Paxton said in a statement. “We are aggressively investigating the serious allegations and potential crimes that Project Veritas’s documentary audio and video recordings shed light on today.”
Project Veritas said in the video that its undercover investigator paid the woman $500 to follow her and watch her at work.
The “ballot chaser,” who was identified by name by Project Veritas but whose identity has not been confirmed by The Washington Times, also said that she was bringing “at least 7,000 ballots to the polls” in the San Antonio area.
Under Texas law, it is a crime to influence or improperly assist a voter while voting, while federal law prohibits voter coercion. Texas law also allows only family members to “harvest” or drop off ballots, according to Project Veritas attorney Jered Ede.
“My office is fiercely committed to ensuring that the voting process is secure and fair in all Texas elections — a process that this video unfortunately casts a shadow of doubt on,” Mr. Paxton said.
The woman said she was a “consultant” for Republican congressional candidate Mauro Garza, but that she was trying to convince voters to cast their ballots for Mr. Garza and then vote Democrat the rest of the ballot, in conjunction with another organizer named Tom.
“So Tom and I sat down, and I said, look, the only thing you can do is register every mother—r in that area, everybody in that district, and then I’ve got to flip all these Dems, but I’ve got to flip them only for him, only for him,” she said.
She also said that Mr. Garza allotted her $2,500 to buy gifts such as shawls, diabetic socks and rosaries for voters, saying, “this is what’s what you call flipping people.”
In a Facebook statement, Mr. Garza said that a “former Mauro Garza campaign volunteer was recorded alleging voter fraud in our local elections.”
“I do not endorse or support any wrongdoing or voter fraud,” said the statement. “If any member of my campaign team, paid or volunteer, engages in or gives the perception of any negligent behavior or threatens the integrity of voter registration or engages in voter fraud, they will be immediately fired and turned over to the County elections office and law enforcement.”
Texas Republican Party Chairman Allen West condemned the activity shown on the video and called for an investigation.
“Those who violate Texas election law should be punished accordingly in order to preclude future actions such as this,” said Mr. West. “It’s quite regrettable that anyone would resort to such measures rather than winning on the merit of principles and the issues.”
The woman said that she had a team of “five girls that are really, really good, and I’ve got two that I’m training.”
She also talked about holding barbecues and beer parties to register voters and get them to fill out their ballots, and having voters fill out affidavits so that she could accompany them into the voting booth and help them fill out ballots.
“We’ve just seen that a small handful of people are able to manipulate thousands of votes in one of the most important elections of our time,” said Project Veritas President James O’Keefe. “If we don’t stop this abhorrent illegal activity, buying elections here in Texas may become the new normal, and voters’ rights may become a relic of the past.”