Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruben Perez (pictured) of the Southern District of Texas will spend Nov. 6 at his desk in Houston, fielding calls from individuals complaining of alleged voting rights violations. On Aug. 29, U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced Perez’s appointment as district election officer.
Perez says he’s involved because candidates seeking federal office are on ballots in the Southern District. He notes that election fraud is a civil rights violation, and he’s chief of the civil rights unit at the U.S. attorney’s office.
Perez, who has served as the election officer twice before, says calls can include complaints from individuals who claim they are registered and are being denied a ballot, complaints about voter intimidation, and complaints of suspected “vote buying.”
Perez says he can’t recall prosecuting anyone as a result of an Election Day complaint, but he notes that the Texas Secretary of State’s office has the primary responsibility to oversee the election process.
“Depending on the circumstances, we can get involved, but the primary responsibility is that of the state,” Perez says.
Perez says he expects calls to come in sporadically on Nov. 6, but the volume will pick up the day after the election. It’s usually representatives of losing candidates who make post-election calls, he says.
— Brenda Sapino Jeffreys