NBC 5 uncovered new details in the criminal investigation of Dallas mail-in ballot fraud that's ongoing at the same time as election campaigns prepare for a June 10 runoff.
Dallas County Election Supervisor Toni Pippins-Poole said Tuesday that nearly 100 of more than 700 suspicious mail-in ballots that were set aside from the May 6 elections were rejected from final tabulation because signatures on the ballots did not match application signatures.
"It's still ongoing, the investigation, and we want to make sure that voters still have faith in this operation," Pippins-Poole said.
Voter Pat Stephens said she had heard neighbors talk about people tampering with mail-in ballots, so she was suspicious when a man came to her home before the election trying to collect a mail-in ballot that she never ordered.
"Here you are trying to pick up a ballot I didn't request, so there's got to be something fraudulent," Stephens said.
She demanded to see identification, and the man showed her a driver’s license. Stephens took a picture of the license that identified the man as Miguel Hernandez Jr. with a Dallas address. The license showed it had been renewed in January 2017.
A woman who lives at that address told NBC 5 that Hernandez has never lived there but has been using the address for years against the correct resident's wishes. At another address found in public records for a Miguel Hernandez Jr. with the same date of birth as the driver's license, neighbors said he has not lived at that location in years but does visit people there. A Miguel Hernandez Jr. with the same date of birth was sentenced to five years of probation after pleading guilty in a 2013 drug possession case.
Prosecutor Andy Chatham said officials want to talk with this Miguel Hernandez Jr. about the election investigation. Chatham said other people have told investigators stories similar to what Pat Stephens had to say about a man believed to be Miguel Hernandez Jr.
Pippins-Poole said Dallas County election workers never collect mail-in ballots in person.
"If someone says they're from the election department, that's incorrect. That's not a Dallas county election worker," she said.
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson declined to discuss the election investigation in detail Tuesday but said she wants voters to be confident that their vote will count.
"We feel like the integrity of our voting system is so important, that this issue is so important to us, that we just want the citizens of Dallas County to rest assured that we are on top of this," Johnson said.
Run-off elections often have very low voter turnout, so mail-in ballots could be a big factor for remaining candidates.
Voters who requested mail-in ballots for the May 6 election will automatically receive runoff ballots if they are eligible to vote in a runoff. New mail-in ballot requests will be accepted until May 30. In-person early voting begins May 29 and ends June 6 for the June 10 runoff.