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Elec­tion Integrity

Secure elections are the cornerstone of a thriving republic. The legislature has made significant improvements in the laws governing state election integrity. A key priority of the Attorney General is to investigate and prosecute, when requested, allegations of voter fraud to ensure election integrity within Texas.


It is illegal to vote in a territory where you are not a resident.

Unlawful Assistance

It is illegal to suggest how a disabled voter should vote while assisting them.

Your Ballot

You have the right to vote your ballot by yourself, in secret.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is election fraud?

Election fraud, in the most general sense, is any attempt to subvert or manipulate the electoral process by illegal means.

Election fraud is notoriously difficult to detect, investigate, and prosecute. In many ways, voting is based on the honor system, and relatively few safeguards are in place to prevent fraud. While most people are honest and law-abiding, there are individuals who purposefully exploit vulnerabilities in the election system in order to manipulate the outcome of elections or impose their will on other voters, in violation of the principle of “one citizen, one vote.” The OAG works tirelessly to bring lawbreakers to justice in order to maintain the integrity of Texas elections.

What type of election fraud activities occur?

There are over 100 different criminal offenses within the Texas Election Code, but the majority fall into a few major categories.

Illegal voting: Illegal voting is when a person who is not qualified to vote, such as non- citizens, non-residents, and felons, casts a vote. Illegal voting also includes voter impersonation or voting another person’s ballot.

Mail Ballot fraud: This activity is also known as vote harvesting. Vote harvesting exploits the inherent insecurities of the mail ballot system in two phases: seeding and harvesting. In the seeding phase, applications for mail ballots are generated to saturate targeted precincts with mail ballots. Commonly used schemes involve gaining voters’ signatures by deception, intimidation, or forgery; and/or fraudulently making an application for a voter who is not qualified to vote by mail, often by claiming that an able- bodied person is disabled. In the harvesting phase, workers target voters as they receive their ballots in the mail and obtain votes for the candidates they support, either by intimidation, deception, compensation, influence, or outright theft of the ballot itself.

Voter Assistance fraud: Exploiting the legitimate voter assistance process intended for voters who cannot read or physically mark their own ballots, in order for campaign workers to insert themselves into the voting process. Campaign workers approach voters in parking lots of polling places and, often implying that they are official election workers, tell voters they are going to "assist" them with the voting process. Election clerks are trained, under current law, not to question whether the voter is qualified for assistance or has requested the "assistant" to help them. Votes are then secured for the candidates of the assistant’s choice.

What are the penalties associated with election fraud?

Penalties range from misdemeanor offenses up to felonies, depending on the offense.

What is the Office of the Attorney General's role in enforcing the election laws?

The Office of the Attorney General has statewide investigation authority. The OAG has experience and focused resources to help train or assist local law enforcement and prosecution in working up election fraud cases.

How are election fraud cases referred to the Office of the Attorney General?

An individual may submit an election complaint to the Texas Secretary of State through the use of an online form.

The Secretary of State will refer complaints alleging criminal offenses to the Office of the Attorney General for investigation. Chapter 273, Texas Election Code, gives the OAG authority to investigate election code violations anywhere in Texas. Note, for a campaign-related complaint, please contact the Texas Ethics Commission.

How does the Office of the Attorney General decide which election fraud cases to pursue?

The OAG’s Election Fraud Unit is a referral-based unit. The OAG does not choose its cases, nor does it “target” any particular geographical area or type of case. The OAG responds to the complaints it receives, which are normally vetted by the Secretary of State, and determines whether an offense occurred. The OAG does not have resources to actively detect fraud, but rather relies on members of the public and election officials to observe fraud and report it to the Secretary of State, who screens complaints pursuant to Election Code Section 31.006 and refers credible allegations to the OAG.

How does the Office of the Attorney General define success with regard to election fraud cases?

Success is achieved by increasing public confidence in free and fair elections in two ways: (1) by investigating an allegation of fraud and determining that fraud did not, in fact, occur; and (2) by investigating and prosecuting, where appropriate, violations of the election laws. Election violations may be resolved in several ways. A prosecution may result in a conviction, either by plea bargain or jury trial. Convictions may result in incarceration, probation, or a combination of the two. A prosecution may also result in a deferred adjudication, where a court may accept a defendant’s plea of guilt but defer an adjudication of guilt, pending a defendant’s successful completion of a probation period. A prosecution may also be resolved by a diversion program, which is a contractual agreement with a prosecutor, wherein a perpetrator of an election offense typically admits to committing an election offense, receives education regarding the law, and agrees to comply with the law going forward. If the individual reoffends, the admission may be used against them in a future prosecution; otherwise, the individual will not face criminal consequences and will not have a criminal history. The ultimate goal of law enforcement is to gain compliance with the law, and the OAG has multiple tools at its disposal to achieve that goal.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Voter Fraud

Know Your Rights

  • You have the right to vote however you choose. It is a crime for someone to pressure or influence you while you are voting.
  • If you have a disability or if you are 65 or older, you have the right to vote by mail-in or absentee ballot or in person at the polling location.
  • An elections official will never approach you at your home or outside of your polling place to offer assistance or take your ballot. Do not give your ballot to an individual you do not trust.
  • You have the right to vote your ballot by yourself, in secret. Choose someone you trust to help you if you cannot fill out your ballot yourself.
  • If you do allow a person to assist you with reading and marking your ballot, you have the right to inspect the ballot for accuracy.
  • It is a crime for someone to take your mail ballot from you, unless you are physically incapable of mailing your own ballot and you request assistance.

For any questions regarding election laws, please consult with the Secretary of State.

For questions relating to political campaigns, please consult the Texas Ethics Commission.

Information on school electioneering.

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