Republicans in Texas are recruiting an “army” of 10,000 poll workers and watchers to fight voter fraud in Houston, according to a leaked video of a Harris County Republican Party presentation, obtained by Common Cause Texas.
A man who identifies himself as an official with the county Republican Party said in the video that he is seeking volunteers from the majority white, Republican suburbs where he lives “that will have the confidence and courage to come down here in these areas,” he said, pointing to Houston’s diverse urban center on a map of voting precincts.
“We’re trying to build an army here — 10,000 people in Harris County,” he said. “This is where the problems occur,” he added. “If we don’t do that, this fraud down here is really going to continue.”
The 2020 elections were one of the safest in the country and there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, but Republican controlled legislatures have used lies spread by Donald Trump and his allies to pass legislation restricting access to voting for minorities.
Harris County GOP Chair Cindy Siegel confirmed in a statement to NBC News that the program aims to recruit “an army of volunteers” throughout the county as a way “to engage voters for the whole ballot, top to bottom, and ensure every legal vote is counted.” Siegel also called Common Cause “a radical leftist group that is blatantly mischaracterizing a grassroots election worker recruitment video in a shameful effort to bully and intimidate Republicans.”
“What we see in this video is a concrete, real-world example of why it is a downright dangerous idea to expand poll watcher powers while removing the ability of election workers to kick a disruptive poll watcher out,” said Anthony Gutierrez, Executive Director of Common Cause Texas. “Volunteer poll watchers who have no ill intent and who do not plan to disrupt voting would have no need to be ‘courageous’ about going into predominantly Black and Brown communities. When I hear someone say he needs ‘courageous’ volunteers to be part of an ‘army’ that will keep an eye on voters in minority neighborhoods, I hear all the same old dog whistles with a slightly updated harmony.”