Dallas County elections officials seeing suspicious activity ahead of primary

Nine months after the Dallas County District Attorney launched a voter fraud investigation, Dallas County elections officials are starting to see new suspicious activity ahead of the March primaries.

The elections office has already turned over potentially fraudulent mail-in ballot applications for the March 6 election to the district attorney.

Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole said she's already received a mail-in ballot back because the voter didn't request it. It was a complaint that became common in the May election last year and she says her office is ready to spot any voter fraud.

“We are looking at when the applications come in and they're checked for deceased voters,” Pippins-Poole said. “When we see mail ballots come back, and we just got the application in that same month and that ballot comes back as addressee unknown, we're turning those over to the district attorney's office.”

Although Pippins-Poole declined to give specifics, she indicated the number of suspicious ballots so far is small.

But with the March primaries less than a month away, the DA's office is still working on a large-scale voter fraud investigation from last May's elections. Investigators collected six boxes of suspicious ballots from that election, including 700 ballots witnessed by the same person -- who called himself Jose Rodriguez.

"It was shocking when we saw the same name come up on all of these applications,” Pippins-Poole said. "The law says this person would have to have a name and address. The name did not exist nor did the address. That's where it was real shocking, we'd never had that before."

One woman took a picture of the suspect's ID while he was canvassing door-to-door. That led to the indictment and arrest of Miguel Hernandez, who is currently out on bond.

Pippins-Poole says her office has made a lot of changes after last year. They are now putting letters in ballots advising people to mail their own ballots.

"If someone comes to your home asking for your ballot, let me help you with your ballot, stop. If you don't know that person, don't allow it,” Pippins-Poole said.

The district attorney's office is asking a judge on Wednesday to allow the da to sequester all suspicious ballots in the upcoming March primary -- that means pulling those ballots aside to be reviewed.