Paul Simpson, Harris County Republican Party Chair, today responded to false attacks by the Harris County Democrat Party and others trying to pin the blame on Republicans for mistakes by Democrat Harris County Voter Registrar Ann Harris Bennett who wrongfully suspended thousands of voter registrations, and trying to intimidate citizen volunteers from following Texas law:
“Democrat Voter Registrar Ann Harris Bennett’s records lists thousands of voters registered at locations that do not seem to be residences, including UPS stores, churches without residences, industrial facilities, and the Harris County Jail. Volunteer Harris County Republican Ballot Security Chairman Alan Vera exercised his right as a registered voter to ask Ms. Bennett to verify these addresses - a request that Texas law allows only a registered voter to make. The list of addresses included voters of all stripes - even a Republican precinct chair.
“In response, the Democrat Voter Registrar mistakenly suspended the registration of thousands of voters.
“The Harris County Democrat Party then claimed Mr. Vera’s request had ‘changed the registration status’ of thousands of Democrat voters, when the list was party-neutral and it was the Democrat Voter Registrar who had suspended those registrations. More disturbingly, a Democrat partisan then published online the personal information of party volunteers who work with Mr. Vera, in a vain attempt to intimidate them.
“We will not be intimidated. It is inexcusable that Democrat Ann Harris Bennett failed to follow the law. She should not have suspended voters’ registrations. And the outrageous doxing and threats against Republican volunteers by leftists only hardens our resolve to fight their dirty tricks.
“This also shows that the Harris County Democrat Party doesn’t understand the law, and traffics in ‘fake news’ in a futile effort to gin up support for dismal Democrat candidates dedicated to failed left wing policies that Texans reject. Or do Democrat voters actually live in UPS stores, industrial facilities, and the Harris County jail? “Democrat Voter Registrar Ann Harris Bennett should NOT have jumped the gun by suspending those voters’ registrations. Instead, the law requires her to give them 30 days to respond to a written inquiry about their residence, to ensure they vote in the right jurisdictions. We urge Democrat Ann Harris Bennett to follow the law and quit violating voters’ rights.”
Texas Election Code does not permit local registrars to question the eligibility of registered voters based on residency, but registrars are required to act on challenges to the registration of other voters in their county initiated by local citizens. Texas Election Code Section 16.033
states a county registrar “may use any lawful means to investigate whether a registered voter is currently eligible for registration in the county,
” but it“does not authorize an investigation of eligibility that is based solely on residence.”
If the challenge is based on residence, Section 16.0921
says “the registrar shall promptly deliver to the voter whose registration is challenged a confirmation notice.” Section 16.0921
says that if the voter fails to respond to the registrar’s notice within 30 days from the date the notice was mailed, “the registrar shall enter the voter’s name on the suspense list.”
Bennett appears to not have followed the statute to provide voters 30 days to respond, but instead suspended registrations immediately.