A Texas politician’s attempt to bolster former president Donald Trump’s post-2020 election lies about voter fraud with an offer of cash for tips has made a Pennsylvania Democratic poll worker $25,000 richer.
Last November, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick announced that his campaign committee would pay out up to $1m in rewards “to incentivize, encourage and reward people to come forward and report voter fraud,” with a minimum payment of $25,000 to “anyone who provides information that leads to an arrest and final conviction of voter fraud,” anywhere.
On Thursday, Texans for Dan Patrick cut a $25,000 check to Eric Frank, a Democratic election worker from Chester County, Pennsylvania. According to the Dallas Morning News, Mr Frank earned the reward because he had notified authorities when a Willistown Township, Pennsylvania man — a registered Republican — illegally cast a second ballot in his son’s name last year.
Mr Patrick’s cash-for-tips announcement came on 10 November, three days after most news organisations called Pennsylvania — and the 2020 presidential election — for Joe Biden.
By then, Mr Trump and many of his allies were making outrageous claims that the election he’d lost was tainted by widespread fraud perpetrated by Democrats in service of Mr Biden’s candidacy, and his attorneys were filing the first of what would be 61 unsuccessful lawsuits seeking to throw out election results in key states.
The Texas Republican went all-in on Mr Trump’s unsupported allegations. In a statement, Mr Patrick said: “I support President Trump’s efforts to identify voter fraud in the presidential election and his commitment to making sure that every legal vote is counted and every illegal vote is disqualified”.
He called Mr Trump’s search for voter fraud “not only essential to determine the outcome of this election,” but “essential to maintain our democracy and restore faith in future elections”.
Though Mr Patrick’s announcement was meant as a call to arms for Republican partisans, so far the only person to claim a reward is Mr Frank. He told the Morning News that he believed Mr Patrick’s scheme did not go off as planned.
“It’s my belief that they were trying to get cases of Democrats doing voter fraud. And that just wasn’t the case,” Frank said. “This kind of blew up in their face.”