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Fact check: Biden campaign staffer not arrested for voter fraud; allegations lack evidence and petition was denied

Posts shared on social media claim that Dallas Jones, the Biden campaign’s Texas political director, was arrested for harvesting ballots in a voter fraud scheme. This claim is false.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

Examples of posts claiming that Jones was “arrested for electoral fraud” are

here , here , and here .

Dallas Jones, a Houston-based political consultant, was hired as Biden's Texas political director in September 2020, according to the Texas Tribune ( here ).

More than a week after several major media outlets, including Reuters ( here ), declared Joe Biden the U.S. President-elect, some social media users shared a photo claiming it showed the arrest of Dallas Jones for voter fraud ( here , here , and here ).

Some of these posts, however, do not show Jones, but rather the actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. being escorted handcuffed by New York City Police Department officers after being charged with groping a woman in a Manhattan bar in June 2019 ( here ).

In a Nov. 16 phone interview ( here ), Jones reportedly told FactCheck.org: “This is completely make-believe and they’re running with it.”  

When contacted by Reuters, a Biden spokesperson called the social media claims about Jones “laughably false.” Jones could not be reached for comment by Reuters.

The Reuters Fact Check team could find no record of Jones’ purported arrest in the Harris County Sheriff’s online county criminal records inquiry ( here ). In addition, Reuters found no reports of Jones’ arrest in major Texas newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, the Dallas Morning News, or the Fort Worth Star Telegram. 

According to fact-checking site Snopes ( here ), Jones first became a target of online misinformation in early October after Republican political figures filed a petition ( here ) with the Texas Secretary of State to block Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, from moving the beginning of early voting to Oct. 13 from Oct. 19 and stop the Harris County Clerk from letting voters drop off absentee ballots early.

The petition for a writ of mandamus, defined by Cornell Law School (here ), also alleged that several Democratic political figures, including Jones, had organized a “vote harvesting operation” in Harris County.

Filed on Sept. 28 by Republican donor Steve Hotze (here) and others, the petition cited two unidentified witnesses for the claim that a participant “bragged that he could guarantee that the illegal ballot harvesting operation, with the help of mass mail-in ballots, could harvest 700,000 illegal ballots." According to the petition, “witnesses identified Houston businessman Gerald Womack and political consultant Dallas Jones as lieutenants” in the ballot harvesting scheme.

As explained by Snopes ( here ), the petition’s only evidence was “statements made by the private investigators under oath, which don’t offer any specifics,” including the employer of the private investigators. FactCheck.org similarly concluded that “the claim about Jones and ballot harvesting was made by Republicans during an unsuccessful legal pursuit, and has not been corroborated by any law enforcement agency.” ( here )

On Sept. 28, Harris County Clerk Chris Collins, a Democrat, argued in a brief

( here ) that “the Texas (vote-by-mail) system is complex and provides multiple methods to identify and expose any actual fraud.”

The clerk also stated that those filing the petition “raise the ‘voter fraud’ cry in their emergency motion for temporary relief, but offer no evidence to support their claim. Nor do they explain how allowing voters to return their mail-in ballots in person prior to election day will lead to voter fraud.”

Two days later, Collins issued a statement ( here ) in which he described the petition as lacking “any viable legal claim.”

On Oct. 7, the Texas Supreme Court denied the petition ( here ), stating that the petitioners had “delayed in challenging” the governor’s proclamation “for more than ten weeks after it was issued” and that with “the election is already underway,” disrupting “the long-planned election procedures as relators would have us do would threaten voter confusion.”

Steve Hotze did not return Reuters’ request for comment on the allegations against Jones and others contained in his petition.

As reported by Reuters ( here ), a federal judge in Texas on Nov. 2 denied a different bid by Hotze to invalidate more than 127,000 votes already cast at drive-through voting sites in Houston, a Democratic-leaning area.

VERDICT

False. Biden staffer Dallas Jones has not been arrested for voter fraud. A petition alleging that Jones was a “lieutenant” in an alleged ballot harvesting scheme provided no verifiable evidence.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work  here .

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