What is being described as one of the biggest voter fraud investigations in Texas history is currently unfolding in Dallas.
For the past couple of months prosecutors in the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office have been looking into allegations of voter fraud. Their investigation accelerated last week when more criminal and voter fraud allegations stemming from the May 6 election emerged. The D.A.’s office last week filed a notice of investigation of criminal conduct which reads in part:
The Dallas County Elections Department has in excess of 700 “Mail-In Ballots” that are directly linked to applications assisted by “Jose Rodriguez,” or are suspicious in nature.
Workers say the volume of complaints about questionable mail-in ballots has been “off the charts.”
“It’s totally frustrating,” said Dr. Pat Stephens of West Dallas. “You know, we all feel violated.”
Stephens is speaking out. She is still bothered about her signature being forged on an mail-in ballot application.
She’s among the 60 to 90 Dallas residents who investigators say have come forward over the past month, saying they received mail-in ballots which they did not request.
Stephens says red flags were raised when a suspicious man came to her home, saying he worked for Dallas County and wanted to pick up the ballot.
“I got a knock on my door and the guy was saying that he was coming to pick up the mail-in ballots and I told him, ‘Well I didn’t order one,'” she tells WFAA.
“Our forefathers fought for us to have this privilege, and for somebody to come along at take it away from us,” she continued.
The probe is beyond frustrating, not only for residents. It’s also keeping District Attorney Faith Johnson’s staff busy.
“There have been persistent rumors of voter fraud and messing around with mail-in ballots for years. But to the extent that I’ve been involved in Dallas County, this is off the charts,” Assistant District Attorney Andy Chatham said.
Dallas County prosecutors have been trying to discover the identity of the man who signed perhaps hundreds of the mail-in ballots, the mysterious “Jose Rodriguez.” Now a whistleblower has come forward, saying he knows who the culprit is.
Before the election, Sidney Williams, 33, made secret audio recordings of his interactions with Jose Barrientos, a campaign worker who suggested on tape that he pay off someone inside the county elections office to find out when mail-in ballots get sent out. “He’s not supposed to but yeah,” Barrientos told Williams. “But then you’ve got to drop a hundred or two or three. Whatever it is. He can’t do it for free.”
Barrientos also suggested in a phone call with Williams that he was the mysterious Jose Rodriguez, admitting that the signatures on the absentee ballots look just like his own. “You’re talking to the master, bro,” he boasted.
Barrientos back-pedaled furiously when asked for comment: “I don’t do that stuff. I know that looks bad, me and Sidney talking s*** or trash. That looks bad. And I know it does, but that’s just talk,” he told WFAA.
Williams explained how he thinks Barrientos does it:
“He goes in there. He speaks to this county employee. The county employee tips him off by ZIP code, lets him know which precincts are dropping,” explained Williams. “Either he’s stealing them from the mailbox, yanking them from a little old lady who probably has them, says he’s going to assist her in a specific way for a specific candidate.”
In the secret recordings, Barrientos gave county prosecutors a lot to work with:
Williams: What do we do, chase the mailman or how does that work?
Barrientos: Your homeboy that’s at the elections office. He tells you when the f*****g ZIP codes are dropping. He’ll tell you like 75221 fixing to hit. Today. They’re going out.
Williams: He tells you that?
Barrientos: He’s not supposed to, but yeah. But then you’ve got to drop a hundred or two or three. Whatever it is. He can’t do it for free.
Barrientos also strongly suggested he has forged applications for mail-in or absentee ballots.
Williams: Where did you get this from?
Barrientos: Umm. You ask too many questions. What are you trying to be a cop or something?
Barrientos: I just got a copy of it. That’s the first absentee ballot that was filed as a fraudulent absentee.
Williams: The first absentee. Who did it? They didn’t catch it?
Barrientos: Look who signed it. Jose Rodriguez. I don’t remember my name being Rodriguez but… (laughs) You’re talking to the master, bro. You ain’t got to sweat me. It was brought to my attention because it looks like my handwriting.
Williams: It does. I ain’t even going to lie. It looks like your signature.
Barrientos: Maybe. Maybe not. I’ll never tell.
Barrientos also told Williams that he was working to defeat councilwoman and Mayor Pro Tem Monica Alonzo in the upcoming election. Dallas held elections for all 14 seats on the city council on May 6, with run-offs scheduled for June 10.
Barrientos: We got about like 700. Monica is going down, bro.
Williams: Hold on, what?
Barrientos: Monica is going down.
Barrientos: Absentees bro.
Williams: They can’t even keep up.
Alonzo ended up winning her election despite Barrientos’ efforts. She will face Omar Narvaez in the run-off.
Barrientos denied any wrongdoing to WFAA:
“Every campaign has like that guy that takes care of the laundry. The dirty laundry,” he said.
He insists he has never been that person and reiterated that he has never used “Jose Rodriguez” as an alias.
Barrientos brought a rejected mail-in ballot with Rodriguez’s name on it to WFAA though he would not explain where it came from.
“You know the Democrats are tired of getting their asses handed to them,” said Barrientos to WFAA.
Are the Democrats cheating, WFAA asked.
“I wouldn’t say cheating,” Barrientos continued. “They’re more aggressive in going after the [absentee] vote. It’s the quickest way in putting points on the board.”
Only voters over 65 or disabled can cast an absentee ballot.
“It’s an open market. Whoever gets to that voter first when he gets his ballot in the mail, right, that’s who gets that vote. Nine times out of ten they’re going to vote for who the person in front of him tells him to,” Barrientos explained to WFAA. “This is what works on everybody. Let me give you the stamp. The U.S. Postal stamp. I mean 99.9 percent of the time they’re going to vote for whoever you suggest. You’ve got to understand, especially in poverty neighborhoods, most of these seniors don’t have anybody to come visit them.”
At least some of the voters, on the other hand, feel like Dr. Pat Stephens of West Dallas, who said, “we all feel violated.”
Wednesday morning the Dallas City Council reluctantly voted to accept the results of the May 6 election.
Prior to the full council’s vote, the five council members who make up the Ad Hoc Canvassing Committee said that as a result of voter fraud allegations being investigated by the Dallas County district attorney’s office, they were uncomfortable accepting the county’s results.
But, they were told, their job was purely ministerial and necessary to proceed with the three runoffs and seat a new council next month.