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. . . Trimble’s sources mostly referred to voter fraud -- deception committed by individual voters, such as voting more than once, impersonating a voter or voting despite ineligibility -- rather than overall election fraud, which encompasses actions by others, such as election officials or campaign workers, who break election laws in ways that could include intimidating voters, publishing misinformation about polling places or possessing ballots not their own.
We dipped into that distinction in an April 2012 fact-check that rated as Half True a claim from Abbott that he had secured 50 convictions for election fraud. Abbott’s basis was his office’s records on 2002-12 prosecutions for alleged election code violations.
For this fact-check, we asked Abbott’s office for an updated list. County district attorneys and the Texas secretary of state’s elections division usually refer allegations of election code violations to the attorney general. We also called the secretary’s office and several district attorney offices around the state, but found no specific information about how many violations were reported or prosecuted.
Abbott spokeswoman Lauren Bean emailed us records showing that from August 2002 through September 2012, the office received 616 allegations of election-code violations and recorded 78 election-code prosecutions.
By our count, 46 of the prosecutions ended with a conviction, guilty plea, no-contest plea or guilty plea as part of deferred adjudication. Of those, 18 cases appeared to involve fraud committed by individual voters: 12 cases with ineligible voters, five cases of voter impersonation and one case of voting more than once.
So, by our reading of the attorney general’s records, 18 instances of voter fraud have been confirmed in Texas since 2002.