Two affidavits filed in a lawsuit alleged that top Texas Democrat officials have launched an illegal mail-ballot harvesting scheme. In one affidavit, Charles Marler, a former investigative specialist with the FBI, alleges that Precinct 1 Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis and District 13 Texas State Senator Borris Miles are supervising the illegal effort, supported by Houston businessman Gerald Womack and political consultant Dallas Jones. Miles and Ellis adamantly deny the allegations, dismissing the claims as “Republican opposition work” and “dirty voter suppression tricks.”
At the beginning of September, the Texas Supreme Court issued a temporary stay against the Harris County Democrats’ plan to send mail-in ballots to all 2.37 million voters in the country regardless of eligibility. The order was issued in response to a lawsuit filed by the Harris County Republican Party, Dr. Steve Hotze, Wendell Champion, Sharon Hemphill, and Al Hartman against County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, over the universal mail-in ballot plan. The lawsuit now includes allegations of a massive ballot harvesting scheme, which Democrats deny.
The political consultant named in one of the affidavits, Dallas Jones, “has notably been hired by Joe Biden’s presidential campaign as the Texas political director,” Texas Scorecard notes.
Marler stated in one affidavit, “Witnesses have shown me and described to me how the ballot harvesters take absentee ballots from the elderly in nursing homes, from the homeless, and from unsuspecting residences’ mailboxes. The ballot harvesters then complete the ballots for their preferred candidate and forge the signature of the ‘voter.’ Two witnesses stated to me that there are two individuals employed at the Harris County Clerk’s Office who are aware of the illegal ballots and help facilitate and mask the processing of the ballots into the legal stream of ballots.”
“I have been made aware of a law enforcement investigation in the Spring of 2020 regarding illegal ballot harvesting,” Marler continued. “Several interviews of individuals were conducted. After the interviews became public, former Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman resigned, alleging health concerns due to COVID-19. However, witnesses have told me that Ms. Trautman was arguing with Commission[er] Rodney Ellis about the legality of mass purchasing and mailing of mail-in ballots and that Trautman was concerned she would be included in the eventual arrest pertaining to illegal ballot harvesting. Instead of coming forward and exposing the scheme, Ms. Trautman abruptly resigned. Witnesses have stated that Commissioner Ellis was not deterred and continued to move forward with the plan to mass mail ballots and expand the illegal ballot harvesting scam. Another witness stated to me that an employee of Commission[er] Ellis, Tyler James, has bragged that he could guarantee that the illegal ballot harvesting operation, with the help of mass mail-in ballots, could harvest 700,000 illegal ballots.”
Another affidavit was submitted by Mark Aguirre, a retired captain with the Houston Police Department, who mentioned Ellis, Miles, Womack, and Jones. Aguirre alleged: “I have in my possession video-taped interviews of witnesses attesting to the aforementioned people having groups of people completing thousands of absentee and mail-in ballots, including completing ballots for deceased individuals; illegally going into nursing homes, with the complicity of the nursing home staff, and filling out and forging the signatures of nursing home residents; signing up homeless individuals to vote using the ballot harvester’s address then completing the ballot and forging the homeless individual’s signature. This entire operation is being run by the elite politicians of the Democrat Party in Houston/Harris County.”
Both State Sen. Miles and Commissioner Ellis have responded to the allegations. Miles “called the allegations false and ludicrous, noting he has never met either of the two men who claim to have inside knowledge of the alleged plot,” The Texas Tribune reported Monday. “Miles said he has always encouraged mail-in voting, especially for voters who are senior citizens, but has never and would never engage in ballot harvesting or any efforts to collect absentee ballots.”
The claim against him is simply “Republican opposition work,” said Miles. “I don’t do that, I don’t have a team that does that, and I’ve never had somebody else’s mail ballot in my hands,” he said.
Ellis likewise strongly denied the allegations. “I’m not surprised that Trump, Hotze and others are using all the dirty voter suppression tricks they can to undermine our elections and democratic process,” he said. “I’m proud our County Clerk is working to ensure Harris County voters have the opportunity to vote safely and securely during this global pandemic, despite these partisan attacks.”
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