TIME: Texas Was Already One of the Hardest States to Vote in. It May Get Even Harder
But voting rights advocates like Anthony Gutierrez, executive director at Common Cause Texas, an advocacy organization focused on promoting democracy, point out that “in Texas, there’s a really long history of poll watchers inside poll sites disrupting voting and being problematic and needing to be removed.” Partisan poll watchers who were suspected of being affiliated with True the Vote, a nonprofit that grew out of a Tea Party group and is focused on rooting out fraud in elections, reportedly harassed voters in several minority neighborhoods in Harris County in 2010. As a result, the Harris County attorney created new guidelines dictating where watchers could be at polling sites and how close they could stand to voters while they cast their ballots.
On April 8, Common Cause published a leaked video revealing that the Harris County Republican Party is planning to mobilize an “Election Integrity Brigade” by building an “army of 10,000 people” to serve as poll watchers and election workers. The group said they are recruiting those who “have the ‘confidence and courage’ to go into some of Houston’s most diverse, historically Black and Brown neighborhoods to stop alleged voter fraud,” Common Cause said in a press release.