Reports: Volunteers, retirees, national groups targeting election offices

Votebeat Texas reporter says Bexar County is far from the only one

Votebeat, a national nonpartisan news organization affiliated with the Texas Tribune, has reported on the demands, intimidation and threats targeting elections administrators and their staff. KSAT's Jessie Gegollado spoke with a reporter who sees no end in sight ahead of the November midterms.

AUSTIN – Based on her reporting for Votebeat, a national nonpartisan nonprofit news organization, its Texas reporter Natalia Contreras said volunteers and retirees, many part of national networks spreading misinformation, have been targeting election administrators and their staffs in Texas since the 2020 election.

Contreras said the Bexar County Elections Office isn’t the only one being threatened, intimidated and sued.

“It’s not,” Contreras said, far from it. “Actually a lot of counties have seen this happen.”

In her reporting for Votebeat, which is affiliated with the Texas Tribune, Contreras has covered what’s been happening in Tarrant County and mostly recently in Gillespie County where the entire elections staff quit.

She said repeated demands include open records requests, access to voter rolls, 2020 election ballots, voting machines and more, including lawsuits.

“They’re looking for something,” Contreras said.

But why is the question, Contreras said, since Texas is a red state where Republicans have won most of the elections.

A couple of weeks ago, Jacque Callanen, the Bexar County Elections Administrator, told KSAT 12 News, “We’re under attack.”

She said elections administrators like Callanen are passionate about serving their voters, not any political party.

“They’re there to help the voters be able to cast their ballots,” Contreras said. “They are the best source of information. They are the experts.”

But when asked if her office could avoid what happened in Gillespie County, Callanen said, “If this continues to ramp up, we’ll see.”

Contreras said judging by what she’s seen so far ahead of the November midterms, “I don’t think it’ll stop any time soon.”

About the Authors:

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

Luis Cienfuegos is a photographer at KSAT 12.