Alleged Voter Intimidation by Local Sheriff In Edwards County, Texas


Voting Rights Institute Asks the Department of Justice to Investigate 

A Texas County sheriff appears to be intimidating Latino voters from exercising their federally protected right to vote, and today the Voting Rights Institute sent a letter calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.

The Texas Observer recently reported that in 2014, Edwards County, Texas Sheriff Pamela Elliott attempted to lead an “angry mob” outside of a meeting of Latino voters, held at the home of a local community activist and former Rocksprings mayor Rachel Gallegos. The meeting was held on private property and was of a county Democratic Party Executive Committee. According to the report, the meeting was held by those who supported a candidate who was opposed by one of Elliott’s allies.

Elliott is up for election herself in Fall 2016, drawing into question whether she will abuse her power of office to get re-elected. In the last 15 years, Edwards County's Hispanic population has grown from 45 to 55 percent Hispanic, according to the report.  

“Federal law makes quite clear that it is illegal for anyone to intimidate or attempt to intimidate voters for the purpose of interfering with the right to vote,” said Gerry Hebert, an attorney with the Voting Rights Institute. “Voter intimidation or attempts to intimidate voters also carry criminal penalties, and we are calling on the Department of Justice to take swift action to investigate these serious allegations.”

The Voting Rights Institute is a collaborative of the Campaign Legal Center, the American Constitution Society and Georgetown Law School, and protects one of the most precious rights held by Americans — the right to vote. Established in response to the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby County v. Holder, which invalidated a key provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the Voting Rights Institute is preparing the next generation of attorneys, experts and activists to preserve our democracy and protect the ability of all Americans to vote.