Back in 2012, I had a post , Allegation of Actual Impersonation Voter Fraud Attempt in Texas…and An Illustration of Why Such Fraud is Rare and Stupid, with a follow-up, More on the Voter Impersonation Fraud Case in Fort Worth about a woman who took her son to vote for her husband while the husband was out of town, and then the husband returned unexectedly and voted. I wrote in the first post:
Impersonation voter fraud is about the dumbest way I could think of to swing an election. That’s why almost all the cases of real fraud with the potential to affect elections involves absentee ballot fraud or election official misconduct: in both ways you could actually verify the fraudulent votes and cast them in sufficient enough numbers to affect elections. (More about the extreme rarity of impersonation voter fraud here.)
Note that the fraudulent scheme did not work—it was detected. Nonetheless, look for this allegation to become the new “1984 grand jury report“–supposed evidence of a massive problem with impersonation voter fraud.
I wrote in that second post:
I wanted to get more information about the case, given how extremely rare voter impersonation fraud is. The Tarrant County prosecutor’s office was kind enough to share a copy of the indictment, It is pretty general, so I spoke by phone with the prosecutor in charge of the case, David Lobingier.
Mr Lobingier told me that the allegation is that the mother took her minor son, a teenager, to the polling place to vote on election day. She took the father’s voting card. The son showed the father’s card and signed in using his father’s name. (The son has the same name, but is a Jr., and he did not sign the junior.) He was then sent over to vote on the electronic voting machine. Later in the day, the father showed up to vote and poll workers said he had already voted, leading to the investigation and prosecution. The father did not know that the son had been sent to vote.
I asked about the motivation for the mother’s alleged actions. Mr. Lobingier said that the actions seemed “kind of stupid” and he could not recall any other case like it. He said that his “surmise” was that the mother thought the father would be unable to vote that day, and so brought the son, but it was not clear why she was interested in having him vote in this election. (The mother is running as a Democratic precinct chair, but was not running in this election.)
Mr. Lobingier said that he believes the defense is going to claim that the allegations are not true, and that the mother is claiming some kind of long-running dispute with someone at the precinct.
Well now, a guilty plea, but with a twist:
A Fort Worth woman who has been used as an example of why voter ID laws are needed pleaded guilty twice last week in a voter fraud case.
On Tuesday, as Hazel Brionne Woodard lay partially unconscious in a Tarrant County courtroom, she muttered to paramedics that she confessed to a crime that she did not commit.
Woodard, a 2011 Democratic precinct chair candidate, had admitted to having her son vote on behalf of his father on June 18, 2011. Voter fraud allegations arose after the boy’s father showed up to cast his own ballot later that same day.
Woodward was sentenced to two years of deferred adjudication probation on her initial plea, but Judge Ruben Gonzales did not make it official because of her medical issues.
Woodard was back in the courtroom Friday, when Gonzales gave her an opportunity to withdraw her guilty plea and have a jury trial, saying he had a “strong concern” that she did not admit to her crime.
Woodard then readmitted her guilt and took the probation offer.
“There is no doubt that after today that you admit to this crime,” Gonzales said Friday.
Woodward’s plea was the latest twist in a case that has been used as an example of what’s wrong with the Texas voting system. When she was indicted in 2011 — under the name Hazel Woodward James —lawmakers argued that her behavior was why the Texas voter ID law was needed.