TEXAS, USA — In the last half hour of Tuesday night's presidential debate, President Donald Trump told Americans mail-in ballots would create the opportunity for fraud in the November election. But not all vote by mail systems are run the same way. Local party leaders do not believe there will be a problem in Texas.
Trump's full quote from the Tuesday night debate said, "As far as the ballots are concerned it's a disaster. A solicited ballot is OK. You're asking, they send it back, you send it back. I did that. If you have unsolicited, they are sending millions of ballots all over the country. There's fraud. They found them in creeks they found some, just happened to have the name 'Trump,' just the other day in a wastepaper basket. They are being sent all over the place. They sent out two in a democrat area. They sent out a thousand ballots everybody got two ballots. This is going to be a fraud like you've never seen."
The ballot system used in Texas counties is not unsolicited, however. Party chairpersons told 6 News they are technically absentee ballots that must be requested by the voter with an application. McLennan County Republican Chairman Brad Holland explained the difference to 6 News earlier this month.
"The ballot has to be requested by a signature and submitted by a signature, those two signatures are compared," Holland said. "It goes before the ballot board. One to make sure it is a legitimate request. Two, to make sure that the signatures match and, three, to make sure everything checks out as a legitimate ballot. None of that happens with 'vote by mail' as we term it. That is why absentee ballots are secure."
Holland said he supports the method that Texas uses, but would not be comfortable with some methods used in other states.
"The process that is not secure is when every registered voter at every address gets a ballot whether they live there or not. Just sending a ballot to everyone on a mailing list is really when fraud starts," Holland said.
There are documented examples of ballot fraud and absentee ballot fraud in Texas, but most of the fraud seems to occur in local elections.
The Heritage Foundation, which was created, "To formulate and promote conservative public policies" lists election fraud occurrences on this website. There are no listed occurrences for 2020 and only nine sense 2018.
McLennan County Democratic Party Chairwoman Mary Duty also spoke to 6 News previously about alleged election fraud.
"The University of Arizona has done a voter fraud study across the nation," Duty said. "When I looked at Texas there were several cases of voter fraud, but guess what they were? Local water boards, county commissioners, down-ballot races with very small numbers of voters in a rural county. A handful out of millions and millions of votes."
Duty said she trusts the absentee ballot method used in Texas as well.
"We have so many safeguards in place to make sure we check those ballots, check those signatures. There are ways to turn that ballot away if you think there is something not quite right about it. And a democrat and republican decide that together," Duty said. "I think we do a good job."
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