Four years after a decades-old consent decree preventing the Republican National Committee from engaging in a series of activities involving so-called “ballot security,” Republican operatives continue finding new ways to intimidate and scare Black voters. According to the Houston Chronicle, a Republican group was going door to door in a predominantly Black neighborhood questioning voters about their legitimacy.
Harris County Elections tweeted a Scam Alert warning to residents of the historically Black Sunnyside neighborhood to beware of “impostors” going door to door questioning people about “private voter information.” A second tweet contained a picture of a generic looking declaration form, that had been handed to voters.
The form shared asks individuals to swear that they are registered voters of Harris County. It also asks about whether specific people reside at the address.
Targeting a historic Black community is clearly about intimidation and has nothing to do with alleged “election integrity.” The local League of Women Voters also encouraged those with questions to call to verify the information they are receiving.
Harris County Elections explained in a statement that it does not ask for the type of information being requested by the “scammers.” “These people and the paperwork they are using are not authorized by the Harris County Elections Office.”
While the forms are of questionable origin, it’s not farfetched to think they are a precursor to some targeting or harassment. The Houston Chronicle reported that the people going door to door did not have an official relationship with the local or state party, but there was overlapping membership.
Virtually non-existent voter fraud is used as a rallying cry for a party that refuses to acknowledge its role in undermining Democracy. A few weeks ago, the Texas Republican Party adopted a commitment to the lie that President Biden was not rightfully elected.
White supremacists have a long history of targeting Black independence and political power across the state. As written in The Forum, adopting a clearly blatant lie “is part of a far more ambitious strategy aimed at undermining the legitimacy of a growing multiracial coalition committed to moving the state forward. How far the Texas Republic Party expects to extend this strategy is clearly signaled in the other extremist policy entries in the platform.”
The organization targeting Black voters in Houston isn’t the only Texas formation working to undermine voting rights. Under the guise of cleaning up voter rolls, the Texas-based organization True the Vote encouraged voter challenges across the country. The organization supported efforts to remove thousands of voters from the rolls ahead of the Georgia Senate runoff election in January 2021.
These invasive measures ultimately have nothing to do with “election integrity” or “election security” and are another form of suppression. Also, counties and states have various measures of verifying a person’s ability to vote and steps to take if something improper occurs.
Harris County’s elections and efforts to make voting accessible for all eligible voters have been under attack for some time. Republican legislators attacked practices employed in Harris County to make voting more accessible such as drive-thru voting.