Officials in Tarrant County, Texas (Fort Worth) have taken a bold approach to keeping their elections safe and secure, and hope their model will be a blueprint for localities across the country. In this episode of Who’s Counting? Cleta interviews Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare about his county’s program to ensure local elections are conducted according to law.
As a county judge, Judge O’Hare has governmental responsibility for the state’s 3th largest county. An attorney and property investor, O’Hare was elected County Judge in November of 2022. Campaigning on a platform of securing Tarrant County elections, Judge O’Hare worked in partnership with his County Sheriff and County District Attorney to create a formal, governmental Election Integrity Task Force.
The task force has a hotline and those calls trigger a series of official responses and investigation by a Sheriff’s deputy specially assigned to the task force, and if merited, a designated Assistant District Attorney to pursue prosecution.
In the few months this task force has been active, and against a backdrop of a Tarrant County ballot harvesting scheme that made national headlines, there are already four substantial cases working their way through that system.
Cleta and Judge O’Hare discuss specific threats to elections in Tarrant County, Texas and nationwide – and the merits of this critical program – both as a prosecutorial responsibility and a deterrent to any bad actors looking to game or corrupt the system.
As Cleta notes, elections are all conducted locally, and there must be a local focus on ensuring their integrity. Citizen task forces are making an enormous difference in protecting elections – and the effort of a local government task force focused on election integrity is a model for every county and city across the country.
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