A video posted on conservative activist James O’Keefe’s website has prompted the Republican Party of Bexar County to call for an official investigation into the voter registration practices of Battleground Texas.
The secretly-recorded video, made by O’Keefe’s Project Veritas group, shows Battleground Texas organizer Jennifer Longoria explaining the organization’s registration process to a Project Veritas member.
“Once we register people to vote tonight we will all turn in our cards and our data person will enter not all the information but name, address, and phone number and whoever registered them into a database, and because of that, information will be pulled back up again once elections come up and we can then call everyone here and say, ‘Hi, I registered you to vote,’” Longoria said in the video.
Under Section 13.004 of the Texas Election Code, "The registrar may not transcribe, copy, or otherwise record a telephone number furnished on a registration application."
Bexar County Elections Administrator Jacque Callanan said her office is aware of the complaint.
“Registrars are allowed the name and the address. Under no circumstances is the phone number a piece of public information,” she said. “When people come here and ask to see a registration card from someone, we have to redact any phone number on it.”
The video has enraged local GOP officials who said a thorough investigation must be conducted to protect the integrity of the voter registration process.
“It appears Texas laws were broken by the malfeasance flagrant abuse of personal information collected under the guise of registering voters. Whether we are Republicans, Democrats, or Independents, it's horrifying to us when our private information is illegally gathered,” Republican Party of Bexar County Chairman Robert Stovall said. “If Jennifer Longoria didn’t mind breaking the Texas law, what makes us think Battleground Texas cares who gets your information.”
Attorneys with Battleground Texas said Longoria did nothing wrong, and that they’re voter registration practices are completely legal.
In a statement to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, who also called for an investigation, attorney Graham M. Wilson wrote, “As Attorney General Abbott himself explained to the Supreme Court of Texas in legal briefing, the election code does make some information on voter registration application confidential, but phone numbers are not included on that list."
The complaint was sent to Abbott’s office, but he has recused himself and asked Bexar County District Attorney Susan Reed to look into it.
Since Reed is running for re-election, her office is hoping to send the complaint to another district attorney’s office looking into similar complaints.
If a district attorney is unavailable the Texas Rangers will be called in to investigate.