A previously unreported 2010 state raid of a Houston effort to register low-income voters is raising concerns from critics that the Republican favorite to become the next governor of Texas used his post to suppress voter registration efforts that could favor Democrats. In 2010, armed investigators dispatched by the office of Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and suspecting election fraud raided the headquarters of a voter registration group called Houston Votes. A year later, the investigation was closed with no charges filed. But Houston Votes never recovered, the Dallas Morning News reported Sunday. Fred Lewis, president of Texans Together, the nonprofit parent group of Houston Votes, said the raid was over the top: “They could have used a subpoena. They could have called us and asked for the records. They didn’t need guns.” Now running for governor, Abbott declined to comment on the case. But his aides said the raid was part of an effort to preserve the integrity of Texas elections.
Still, some critics contend that it and other efforts are part of an official, partisan plan to suppress voters who don’t support Republicans.
The 2010 Houston Votes raid coincided with Lewis’ testimony in the trial of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Lewis had filed a complaint against DeLay that helped lead to his indictment on corruption charges.
Abbott spokesman Jerry Strickland didn’t recall being briefed by staff members on the Houston Votes investigation.