Concerns over mail-in ballot fraud delayed counting more than 700 ballots from Saturday's Dallas City Council election that should be tabulated by Tuesday, the Dallas County Election Supervisor said.
The ballots were set aside under a court order issued before the election that was only unsealed Monday.
The Dallas County District Attorney's Office sought that court order for special handling of mail-in ballots after receiving fraud complaints weeks ago, according to Assistant Dallas County District Attorney Andy Chatham.
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"They were set aside so we can go back now and look at them as part of the investigation. But some of them may be legitimate," Chatham said.
Voter Pat Stephens said West Dallas neighbors became suspicious during early voting when they were told by poll workers they had already requested mail-in ballots they did not request.
Then Stephens said a man came to her door in person to pick up a mail-in ballot.
"I said I didn't request one. He said, 'Well, I have your name here on the list.' It was highlighted on a computer printout form," she said.
Chatham said the election supervisor and District Attorney's Office took action.
"We knew exactly what was going on and we made sure that everybody's vote counted that voted legitimately," he said. "People who want to vote, get to vote. People that want to try to fraudulently affect the outcome, they don't get to."
Chatham said around 40 ballots that were mailed in the name of voters who showed up to vote in person have been identified for forensic analysis in the criminal investigation in hope of collecting evidence that could link them to a perpetrator.
Others were being reviewed and counted Monday by a ballot signature board at the office of Dallas County Election Supervisor Toni Pippins-Poole.
Pat Stephens's neighborhood council member, Monica Alonzo, finished first in Saturday's vote, but by less than the 50-percent margin needed to win District 6 without a June runoff. Second-place finishers Omar Narvaez and Alex Dickey were just 48 votes apart. Election officials said more of the uncounted ballots came from District 6 that any other district.
"They need to have a whole new election over again," Stephens said.
She said workers at her West Dallas polling place Saturday still told her they had records showing she had requested a mail-in ballot. Stephens said she had to argue with the workers to cast a provisional ballot and said other voters who faced the same thing in West Dallas were not as patient.
"Some people didn't stay there and argue with them – they just left," Stephens said.
Pippins-Poole said the signature review board was working Monday evening to complete a revised count of votes for Saturday's Dallas City Council election by Tuesday.