A viral social media post claims to show a photo of a Biden staffer under arrest for voter fraud:
This is a false claim and comes at a moment when President Trump’s campaign has filed lawsuits, alleging voter fraud in certain states.
The man in the picture in this widely shared post, however, is not Dallas Jones, Biden’s Texas political director. It’s a photo of Cuba Gooding Jr., who, as the Associated Press reported, was arrested in June 2019 after a woman accused him of groping her at a bar.
While the claims about Jones are false--he confirmed that he has not been arrested in an interview with the New York Times--the misunderstanding goes beyond a case of a misidentified photo.
These false claims originated from court filings from September of this year in the Supreme Court of Texas by Republicans attempting to prevent early voting provisions in Harris County. Activists went to court to stop the Harris County clerk from extending the early voting period and allowing absentee ballots to be dropped off before Election Day. Gov. Greg Abott issued a proclamation allowing such measures in July.
Specifically, Republican activist Steven Hotze, among others, filed a petition for a writ of mandamus—an order from a court to a government official to carry out an official duty as obligated by the law—to prevent the county from enacting the expanded voting measures.
The petition alleged that “as a result of Governor Abbott suspending Texas Election laws that were intended to prevent voter fraud, ballot harvesting is likely occurring in Harris County.” The petition defines “ballot harvesting” as: “the gathering and submitting of completed absentee or mail in voter ballots by third-party individuals, volunteers or workers, rather than 9 submission by the voters themselves directly to ballot collection sites.”
“Accordingly, investigators have linked the ballot harvesting scheme to the Biden/Harris campaign. “Based on interviews, review of documents, and other information, [investigator Captain Mark Aguirre has] identified the individuals in charge of the ballot harvesting scheme. These individuals include political 12 consultant Dallas Jones who was recently hired by the Joe Biden for President campaign to oversee their Harris County initiative…””
In lieu of any viable legal claim, Relators launch a series of wild accusations of a ballot-harvesting conspiracy orchestrated by the leadership of the Harris County government and a State Senator. These accusations are backed by no evidence whatsoever and are of dubious provenance, coming from private investigators who do not disclose either their clients or sources. In any event, these baseless accusations are irrelevant to this matter, as the resolution of factual disputes is not proper for a mandamus action.
Furthermore, on October 7, the Supreme Court of Texas denied Hotze’s petition for writ of mandamus.
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