Houston Votes Answers Allegations

A nonprofit voter registration group disputes claims made by the Harris County Tax Assessor Collector that thousands of bogus voter registration applications collected were an attempt to taint the voter rolls. Pat Hernandez has more.

The charges against Houston Votes were made by Leo Vasquez, the outgoing Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector. Vasquez said earlier in the week that his office received thousands of duplicate voter registration applications as well as some with other irregularities. He accused the non-profit of attacking the integrity of the voter rolls in Harris County.

"What sort of public official would accuse someone of fraud in a public venue for following his own staff advice?"

Fred Lewis heads Houston Votes. He accused Vasquez of defamation and making false complaints at his press conference.

"He accused us of fraud in his press conference, for following the advice of his own staff on re-registering people. He said the re-registration constituted fraud, but anybody who's been to any of his trainings of his deputy registrars know that they tell you that if there's any doubt whether a person is registered, to re-register them."

Kelly Shackelford and members of King Street Patriots
Kelly Shackelford and members of King Street Patriots

Lewis called Vasquez's allegations reckless and bi-partisan in sharing voter registration irregularities uncovered by King Street Patriots, local activists aimed at combating voter fraud.

"He has Mr. Vasquez, whether he knows it or not, a legal duty to be non-partisan, and not to share confidential information with anyone, much less partisan groups. It appears to us that he is part of an organized effort to suppress voting, to win elections for partisan candidates in Harris County, and we are taking the step, of asking the voting rights section of the Justice Department to investigate."

Kelly Shackleford is president of Liberty Institute, which represents King Street Patriots and its True the Vote Initiative. He says they stick by the alleged voter registration fraud it uncovered and presented to Vasquez.

"Maybe to some people things are partisan, but there's actually citizens out there who just love their country and love voting, and love things being free and fair, and so they get involved. They just went and looked at the records and tried to do their job and just handed over the information to the county."

Vasquez has said his office will turn over his findings to the Texas Secretary of State and there Harris County DA's Office.

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Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...