SAN ANTONIO - Allegations of dead people casting votes from beyond the grave and political operatives going door to door to illegally help voters cast their ballots. These claims have been raised again in the wake of the recent election.
An application for a mail in ballot was recently sent by a political group in Pennsylvania to a potential voter here named Clio Block. Unfortunately, Clio is a cat. The pet's owner declined to speak on camera, but did alert the county elections department to the possible fraud.
“We filled out all the information on here,” said voter Michael Schuetze, who cast his ballot by mail in the city election back in 2010. He says a woman - whose name he cannot recall - showed up at his house and offered to help him and his mother get their mail in ballot. “She shows up and I'm not sure if she had the forms, or she brought them, but she offered to mail them for us,” said Schuetze. “We said what if we don't have stamps. She said don't worry about that i'll take care of it for you and get it mailed off. So that's what we did.”
That's illegal according to the Bexar County elections administrator. “If that ballot is handled by anyone other than the voter themselves, it must be documented,” said Jacquelyn Callanen, head of the Bexar County Elections Department.
And the mail in ballot makes it clear - "a person commits a class a misdemeanor if the person provides assistance without providing the information described above unless a close relative or registered at your address."
“It's not right, it's definitely not right,” said Michael Schuetze after learning how his ballot was handled.
Stories of dead voters have been hovering over Bexar County for years. But this November, requests for mail in ballots from 2010 were unearthed by republicans showing a return address which go to a Southside cemetery.
“Well, I’m not in the cemetery,” said voter Ray Johnson. He's confused because the return address on his 2010 ballot application lists the cemetery. He didn't know it until I showed him. “I feel that's interfering with a lot of things. Invasion of my privacy and also my civil rights. Because things can get confused and very serious.”
The Southside cemetery is run by democratic political consultant Joann Ramon. “If I had something to hide, I wouldn't have used that address,” insisted Ramon. She's runs many democratic campaigns and was hired by the party to lead its mail-in ballot effort this past election.
“I’m concerned there's more here then meets the eye,” said republican Weston Martinez, who accuses Ramon of playing dirty politics. “I think she is coordinating and calculating a ballot harvesting, ballot chasing campaign that is not on the up and up in my opinion,” said Martinez.
“First of all what I’m doing is get out the vote for my party. Secondly, it's not illegal,” said Ramon. And it's not illegal - as long as no one assists the voter without declaring it on the application for a ballot. Ramon says her staff only mails the applications to democrats over 65 years old - then calls to make sure they mail it - never handling any of it.
Brian: "Why use your cemetery as the return address, which has caused a lot of controversy, instead of the voters return address?"
Ramon: “You know, because when you're doing hundreds, thousands, it's just easier to run a label that has an address and do it for all of them.”
As for Ramon using the cemetery address, the county elections administrator says that is legal. “We don't track that, so we don't have that information,” said Callanen.
And any information the county might come across revealing alleged voter fraud, she cannot do anything about. “The elections office, is not an investigative body. If we see things, suspect things, our priority is to make sure no one is disenfranchised and that we get a ballot to every eligible voter,” explained Callanen.
The Texas Attorney General and Secretary of State are investigating the cemetery address being used on ballot applications, after a complaint was filed by republicans.