A week after the 2020 election, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced that he was offering up to $1 million – paid from his campaign account – “to incentivize, encourage and reward people to come forward and report voter fraud.”
Nearly a year later, Patrick, a Republican, has paid out his first reward: $25,000 to a Democrat in Pennsylvania, who reported a man for voting twice.
Eric Frank, a poll worker, received the money earlier this month for his part in reporting Ralph Holloway Thurman, a Republican who after voting once, attempted to vote a second time as his son, as first reported by the Dallas Morning News.
“Of course, I never do anything for money, that’s just how I was raised. I do things because it’s just the right thing to do. And I would have reported Thurman if he was a Republican or a Democrat,” Frank told CNN by phone on Friday.
Frank reported Thurman after he recognized the 72-year-old came back and attempted to vote again with a “dark baseball hat and Ray Ban sunglasses.” Thurman pleaded guilty and was sentenced in September to three years probation, according to court documents. Frank noted he wasn’t supposed to be at the polls the day of the election but was asked to fill in last minute by his father, an election judge.
“It was just ironic – it’s my opinion that (Patrick) put up, they put out this bounty to try to find Democrats committing voter fraud. And in fact, it was the complete opposite of what their intentions were,” Frank said.
Neither Patrick’s office nor campaign responded to multiple requests for comment.
In announcing the voter fraud bounty last year, Patrick said at the time, “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. President Trump’s pursuit of voter fraud is not only essential to determine the outcome of this election, it is essential to maintain our democracy and restore faith in future elections.”
This is not the only case of double voting. In Pennsylvania, a man in Delaware County in May was sentenced to five years probation after pleading guilty to casting a vote in the name of his deceased mother in an effort to reelect then-President Donald Trump.
Since losing in 2020, Trump has repeatedly sought to sow doubt over the integrity of the general election and even falsely claimed victory over Joe Biden despite there being no evidence of widespread voter fraud in any US state.
Republican state lawmakers across the country have echoed Trump’s voting conspiracy theories and, in some cases, advanced new election bills that disproportionately affect Democratic voters.
Frank plans to put the money toward a home and some toward charity, though he believes he should have been given a bigger reward. Frank said he was told by Patrick’s spokesperson that he received the minimum reward because “we’re looking at bigger fish.”