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Tarrant County Democratic Party Decries GOP Election Denial Stunt

February 9, 2023
Contact: Dr. Allison Campolo, [email protected]

Fort Worth, TX – Yesterday, Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare, Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Phil Sorrells, and Tarrant County Sheriff Bill Waybourn announced an “election integrity task force.” This flashy bit of election security theater is a wasteful stunt by elected Republicans—all of whom claim their own elections were fair—intended to bolster support with their base, intimidate voters of color, and discourage potential candidates who would challenge Republican incumbents by making the filing process even more daunting than it already is. More egregiously, instead of making elections safer, this task force will harm Tarrant residents by pulling law enforcement officers away from investigations into burglary and theft, which Waybourn said would now be lower priority.

A recent forensic audit conducted by the Texas Secretary of State—a Republican appointee—found that Tarrant County elections were accurate and secure. Additionally, the Tarrant County elections administrator, Heider Garcia, has been praised by non-partisan groups like the League of Women Voters, and even by conservative election integrity activists, for his efforts at fostering transparency in the elections process, encouraging voters to come forward with concerns so they can be addressed, and inviting public participation in testing elections systems. The Tarrant County Early Voting Ballot Board, which is legally tasked with overseeing the conduct of voting by mail, is one of the only tri-partisan boards in the state, with members from the Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian parties, working together to ensure that mail voting in the county is secure, reliable, and fair.

The three Republican officials who will run this task force did not reach out to the Democratic and Libertarian parties, to members of the ballot board, to election judges or other election officials who have a vested interest in the security and integrity of elections, and who could have offered practical suggestions to make elections more secure, such as publicly recruiting election judges, and funding more comprehensive training for election workers. The failure to seek input makes it clear that this is a partisan effort intended to scare people away from participating in the democratic process, not a genuine multi-partisan effort to improve our elections.

“We will always support transparency in elections, and we will continue to work with TCE officials to provide Tarrant voters with safe, trustworthy elections held to the highest standards. This latest GOP stunt is a shameful attempt to suppress voting by people of color, and to lay a groundwork to explain future Republican losses by questioning the honor, dignity, and professionalism of election workers in our county,” said TCDP Chair Dr. Allison Campolo. “It’s straight out of the election denialism playbook. Like Republicans have been doing nationwide since 2020, they’re trying to sow distrust and convince Americans that voting is a privilege rather than a right. TCDP will be here to support voters and candidates, and to fight for the constitutional right of all eligible voters to cast a ballot and have it counted,” Dr. Campolo added.