Judge allows Dallas County elections officials to examine suspicious mail-in ballots

A judge on Wednesday gave the Dallas County District Attorney's office permission to examine any suspicious mail-in ballots after officials started seeing signs of suspicious activity ahead of March’s primaries.

Administrators said among the hundreds of suspicious mail-in ballot applications there are four that really stand out -- all requested by voters who are dead. A total of 1,200 mail-in ballot applications have been flagged.

"For anyone to prey on the elderly and take their voting rights away, I definitely want to see someone prosecuted for that,” said Dallas County Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole. “The message needs to be sent out, that this is not going to be tolerated in Dallas County."

A voter fraud investigation began last may during municipal elections. The investigation focused on 700 mail-in ballots - all signed by same witness - Jose Rodriguez, which Pippins-Poole says is a fake name. Investigators collected six boxes of suspicious ballots from that election.

Assistant DA Andy Chatham believes the same players involved last year may be at it again for the upcoming March primaries.

“They seem to be all interrelated, however, we don't know if they are all interrelated until we are able to look at the ballots,” Chatham said.

If any sequestered ballots are determined to be fraudulent, they'll be tossed out.

"The ballot by mail program, allows people to vote who otherwise would not be able to. That's why this is so maddening,” Chatham said.

Pippins-Poole has a message for the culprits.

"You're not going to get away with it, and you're going to pay the price."