Rent-a-Voter: Election Fraud Legal in Texas

When a developer in Texas wants to avoid the cost of doing business they simply hire a company to provide voters to ‘pass’ the cost onto future residents.

Voter fraud and election fraud isn’t just one thing. It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. By definition, however, all types of voter fraud come with an intent to corrupt the election process. In this particular situation, it involves developers paying a company, Stingray Services, to provide voters-on-demand to vote for the creation of Municipal Utilities Districts (MUDs) before any residents actually live there, as well as, voting for various Government bonds (debt) that all work in the financial favor of the developers. This Government debt is then passed on to future residents.

Now creating new neighborhoods and the zoning and elections process that go along with that is complicated. So lets start by looking at what the process usually looks like.

Developers Building New Neighborhoods

What Most Developers Do

When a developer wants to build a new neighborhood, there is a lot of upfront expenses for expanding infrastructure like roads, utility lines, and potentially (but not typically) school buildings, public parks, and pools. The rules are slightly different depending on which state, county, or city the development is happening in, but there are a variety of ways developers go about handling these costs:

  • Many developers simply front the cost (or get investors to) and build it into their home prices. When this is done, the developer will seek ways to keep these costs lower and they spend a little more time in planning and seeking out potential home buyers. Essentially, the developer is taking extra financial risk and therefore will ensure that the risk is cost effective and likely to pay off.
  • Developers can also seek the support of current residents in the surrounding area to expand infrastructure and the neighborhood. For example, a developer might encourage them to see the benefit of having improved roads and a larger community. If the developer is successful, then those residents can form a Council (or they may already have one) who can then vote in an election for property tax increases to offset the developers costs and/or to expand of the city borders to incorporate this new development and its infrastructure costs.
  • States and Cities sometimes offer funds to assist with expanding infrastructure for new community development, but again, this involves gaining support from the residents and local Government that already exists and usually involves them participating in an election.

Using these kinds of processes is important and ensures that development does not turn into sprawl, which can have a devastating impact on the environment. It also helps prevent unnecessary or unwanted excess Government (tax-payer funded) spending on development.

What Shady Texas Developers Do

Some developers in Texas have found an election loophole that allows them to bypass the investment costs of developing infrastructure without having to seek the support of current local residents in the surrounding area. Here’s what they are doing:

  • Proposing the creation of new Municipal Utilities Districts (MUDs) through legislation that specifically avoids encompassing any nearby property owners.
  • Since the MUD can’t be formed without an election and you can’t have an election without residents, they pay Stingray Services, who offers “turn-key voter trailer installation services, and election services.”
  • Stingray Services then places a mobile home within the boundaries of the proposed district and find a temporary tenant.
  • That temporary tenant is given low rent in exchange for living in the home and voting in the election and passing the MUD creating legislation, as well as, legislation approving the Government bonds (debt) paid to the developer and the property taxes for future residents.
  • After the election the tenants move out.

MUDs were initially intended to focus on ensuring waste and potable water management, as well as, water shed protection along shorelines and providing smaller communities with funding for fire and emergency services. However, it has since then morphed into an entity for wasteful spending, growing at an alarming rate (much faster than the population or inflation). At this point, this process is leaving the decisions regarding billions of dollars of Government spending in the hands of only 1 or 2 individuals who don’t intend to live in the area long-term. It favors shady developers willing to pay for rigged elections in order to usurp the normal legal processes for developing new communities. In addition, current residents of these areas are left out-of-the-loop on important decisions happening right next door.

Rent-a-Voter? Is That Legal?

As mentioned in the abc13 news video above, apparently this type of election fraud is legal in Texas. Stingray Services is so confident in the legality of their services that they don’t even try to hide what they are doing. They even proudly list off the corrupt developers who have used their services “including Lennar, Toll Brothers, Friendswood, Land Tejas, Taylor Morrison, Pate Engineers, Brown & Gay.”

Stingray Services Temporary Building Permit specifically stating the purpose is for voting.
Stingray Services Temporary Building Permit specifically stating the purpose is for voting.

At this point, the powers that be in Texas seem unwilling to call this for what it so obviously is: vote buying and electorate manipulation. When asked about this case the Secretary of State stated, “it is up to the voter to determine their place of residency for voting.”

This seems odd considering the Woodlands RUD case we covered in June, where several concerned civic-minded citizens were charged and convicted of Voter Fraud after changing their residence to vote in another utilities district (a Roads Utilities District) election in Texas. One of those convictions has since been overturned in a higher court and three others are still awaiting their appeals.

Editorial Remarks

This case, like the Woodlands RUD case from Texas, has left me with more questions than answers. The voter bribery and election corruption is so obvious that I am finding it difficult to understand how it has been allowed to continue. Elected officials in Texas vilified civic minded activists who used the same voter residence logic trying to stop utilities district corruption are now using it to legitimize utilities district election corruption in another.

Secretary of State stated, “it is up to the voter to determine their place of residency for voting.”

Is the Secretary of State willing to speak those same words to the Jury at Jim Jenkins’ retrial? Or to the Judge deciding the validity of Adrian Heath’s Appeal? Or the two others involved whose cases are also waiting appeal?

Last question: When is Texas going to put a stop to the fraudulent utilities district elections and the Government spending madness?

Guilty Verdict in Alabama Voter Fraud Case. What Happened?

Get the facts on the voter fraud case in Alabama surrounding absentee ballots and District 2 City Commissioner Amos Newsome.

The above video comes from the local news organization.

District 2 City Commissioner Amos Newsome won an election bid in 2013 due to getting more absentee ballots. Newsome received 119 of the 124 absentee votes that were cast, winning by only 14 votes. He beat out of opponent Lamesa Danzey who later brought charges of voter fraud against him.

Four women from Alabama have been charged with voter fraud in Alabama for collecting these absentee ballots, three were convicted.

Olivia Reynolds 66 of Dothan (Newsome’s girlfriend), was just convicted on 26 counts of absentee ballot voter fraud by Judge Henry D. “Butch” Binford and a Houston County jury after less than an hour of deliberation. Another woman Lesa Coleman had been convicted of seven of the 11 felony absentee ballot charges against her. 64-year-old Janice Hart was also convicted.

When brought to court many of those who cast ballots admitted that they didn’t understand the ballot they were casting, rather the women above would show up at people’s houses, ask if they had received an envelope, and have them sign the enclosed document without properly explaining what was happening.

This case is important because it encapsulates pretty much every issue with voter fraud in America in one case. Let us bullet-point this out in a simple way.

  • Alabama is the home of Selma. This was ground zero for Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous march on Selma that led to the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
  • The Voting Rights Act protected against the voter discrimination and voter suppression that was rampant in the south at the the time.
  • A wide array of voter suppression tactics were used to prevent black American citizens from voting prior to 1965. These included a poll tax and other barriers designed specifically to keep low-income black people from voting.
  • Today important parts of the Voting Rights Act have been stripped away and in their place we now have voter ID laws.
  • Voter ID laws are said to disenfranchise non-white, low-income, student, and senior voters. Some say these are essentially a modern day poll tax.
  • Most of the absentee ballots came from a district that included a lot of low-income black voters.
  • Voter ID laws would not have necessarily prevented absentee ballot fraud, although one does have to be a registered voter to be issued an absentee ballot in Alabama.

So to be clear, not one voter fraud conviction in this election was due to in-person voter fraud (the kind of voter fraud voter ID would protect). Instead what we have is convictions of the incumbents girlfriend and two other supporters of absentee ballot voter fraud.

This shows an going trend that we have noticed since starting this site, it is much more common for voter fraud to happen on a group level than an individual level.

Types of voter fraud like voter suppression, redistricting, and other voter fraud that occurs at a group level involving politicians (especially incumbent politicians who already have some amount of political power) seems to be the real problem in the US. Yet, the new voting laws that are replacing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 are all focused on the individual.

Woodlands Voter Fraud Conviction Overturned

James Alan Jenkins’s voter fraud conviction was overturned by the Texas 14th Court of Appeals due to the Jury not being instructed in mistake of law.

The Judge in the first trial refused to instruct the Jury that Jenkins had sought counsel from state officials in Texas and reasonably believed his actions were legal, including a key recorded phone call from a state official. The Judge also refused to instruct the Jury about the mistake of law defense. Three others were also convicted for voter fraud relating to this case and they are also appealing their convictions. This decision gives hope that the others will also be granted retrials.

The Facts About The Woodlands Voter Fraud Case

This may be by far the most confusing voter fraud case ever encountered. It involves a utilities district with very few registered voters because there are no residential zones in this district, the district has representatives that ran unopposed for 8 years, and when their positions are challenged arrests are made. Sounds a bit shady, so lets take a closer look.

The Woodlands, TX

"Montgomery County TheWoodlands" by 25or6to4 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Montgomery County TheWoodlands” by 25or6to4 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

The Woodlands, Tx is in Mongomery County and is 28 miles north of Houston with a population just over 100,000.

The Woodlands Road Utility District #1 (aka RUD)


  • The Woodlands RUD #1 was created in 1991 and given the responsibility to maintain the roads within the district and the authority to pass bonds to do so.
  • The commercial and industrial properties in The Woodlands RUD #1 are taxed 36 cents per $100 property value.
  • The Woodlands RUD #1 has $110 million in debt when you combine principle and interest.
  • Five representatives were appointed and confirmed to a board of directors for The Woodlands RUD #1 in an initial “election” in 1992 preformed in one of the few residential homes in the district, which have since been torn down for commercial use.
  • These representatives were uncontested until 2010 when Jenkins 3 friends completed applications to get their names on the ballot.
  • In fact, The Woodland’s RUD #1 had skipped 15 election cycles because they believed that there were no registered voters in the district.
  • There are no residential zones within The Woodlands RUD #1 and only one couple has been given special permission to construct a residence next to a commercial building they own in The Woodlands RUD #1. This information only surfaced because Jenkins and his friends were pushing for an election to be held.
  • At this time, according to the Board of Directors, there are only 4 registered voters in The Woodlands RUD #1 and each is registered at a commercial property.
  • In 2015 (after Jenkins’s conviction), the board for The Woodlands RUD #1 was expanded from 5 to 7 directors “to broaden the representation (of the RUD).” Who, exactly, they are representing is unclear.
  • Once again these “representatives” were appointed by The Woodlands city Commissioners and will presumably run unopposed for the foreseeable future.

How Did Jenkins Become Involved with The Woodlands RUD #1?

Jenkins involvement began because of Adrian Heath, a friend and fellow resident in the city of The Woodlands, Texas. From 2008 to 2009 Heath discovered The Woodlands RUD #1 while researching local government debt. Like most residents of The Woodlands, Texas, he frequented the roads and businesses within The Woodlands RUD #1 often and he felt that the decisions made by it’s representatives, and their indebtedness, effected all the residents of the city.

Heath was concerned about the fact that the representatives on the board are not held accountable to the residents of the city and “Heath believed that the RUD’s board acted primarily to benefit The Woodlands Development Company.”

He did extensive research and had correspondence with local and state officials, including email correspondence with attorney Mike Page who deals with “public finance and local government law, including representation of municipal utility districts“. He discovered that three of the five positions for The Woodlands RUD #1 representatives were set to expire in 2010, and thus were up for election. This spurred more researched into legal avenues for being elected to these positions and the process of attaining residency in The Woodland’s RUD #1 for the purpose of voting.

In 2009, he gathered together a group of his friends, including Jenkins, and gave a presentation to raise awareness about The Woodlands RUD #1, their indebtedness, and to encourage his friends to run for positions on the board. The ultimate goal being to be elected and to use the positions to dissolve the district altogether.

Richard McDuffee, Peter J. Goeddertz, and Bill Berntsen Challenge the Incumbent Board Directors in 2010

  • McDuffee, Goeddertz, and Berntsen are all Republicans, politically active, and long-time residents of the city of The Woodlands, Texas.
  • All three complete applications to be on the ballot for the positions.
  • All three, along with Heath, Jenkins, and five other supporters changed their voter registration address to 9333 Six Pines Drive, the address of a Marriott Residence Inn located within The Woodlands RUD #1 boundaries.
  • A document from the Voter Registrar for the County of Montgomery dates April 19th, 2010 lists them and states the office “certify that this list of registered voters is comprised of the Official State List of Registered Voters…”
  • On April 21, 2010 Jenkins, and most of the others, were sent letters from the DA Phil Grant encouraging them to seek counsel and look into laws regarding their voter eligibility or residency. They already had done so, but did so again.
  • The letter also referenced The Attorney General Opinion Number GA-0141 which states “the intention of the voter registration applicant is crucial to a proper determination of residence and every person is strongly presumed to have “the right and privilege of fixing his residence according to his own desires.””
  • Jenkins, McDuffee, Goeddertz, Berntsen, Heath and the five other supporters made reservations and checked-in at the Marriott Residence Inn the day before the election.
  • All of them voted.
  • Early voting totals on election day, May 8th 2010, showed two votes for the incumbents. Presumably from the couple mentioned earlier who are the only landowners who had special permission to build a residence next to their commercial building within the RUD.
  • The incumbents lost the election 10-2 with all 10 votes for McDuffee, Goeddertz, and Berntsen placed by themselves, Jenkins, Heath and their supporters.
  • A few days after the election the incumbents filed a lawsuit to challenge the election results based on voter fraud.
  • As a result, many of those involved booked additional stays at Marriott Residence Inn and Jenkins even changed his driver’s license address and placed his home for sale.
  • Election results were eventually tossed by a Judge and the incumbents regained their seats.
  • Jenkins was indicted for third-degree felony of illegal voting on March 8th, 2012. He was convicted and sentenced to 3 years in prison.
  • In addition, Adrian Heath, and two other supporters who refused to plead guilty in exchange for probation have also been convicted of illegal voting and sentenced to prison.
  • All four convictions are being challenged.
  • The other six individuals involved eventually plead guilty in exchange for probation, all except one continued to assert that they believed what they were doing was legal when they gave testimony at their friends trials.
  • The one whose testimony acknowledge personal guilt did so only because he was the only one who did not physically stay over night at the hotel. He stated that he believed that physical presence was required for claiming residence at the hotel.

The Mistake of Law Defense

In June of 2013, Jenkins was convicted of voter fraud and sentenced to 3 years in prison for voting in a 2010 election for The Woodlands Road Utility District #1 (RUD). In June of 2015, this conviction was overturned because the Jury was not counseled that they had the option to find Jenkins not guilty based on mistake of law. They were also denied testimony that Jenkins sought counsel from Texas state officials prior to changing their voter registration address.

A mistake of law defense generally argues that a person is not guilty of violating law because he/she did not understand how the law applied to them. It typically requires that the defendant made an effort to understand the law and how it applied to them, but there have been cases in which it was used as a defense because a law had changed just prior to the offense.

Editorial Conclusion

Understanding the key issues about this case leaves more questions than answers. How was Jenkins even indicted if there is no law calling his actions illegal? Who exactly are these Board of Directors “representing”? Is there any  way for citizens of The Woodlands to participate in the elections for these director’s positions when there are no residential zones within the district? Why are these people being treated like violent criminals for attempting to legally participate in an election process which has an affect on them and their community?

It appears that Jenkins and his friends found a legal loophole to participate in an election which, for 8 years, went uncontested because of legal loopholes. A loophole that has been repeatedly exploited by developers in Montgomery County who hire “Rent-a-Voter” services to move voters into areas with no voters for the purpose of voting on Bonds to pay the developers. Despite this, Jenkins and three others were convicted of third-degree felony charges for illegal voting and sentenced to prison. It also appears that The Woodlands RUD #1 boundaries were placed specifically to keep voters from participating in the election process and that the “elected” representatives of the district used the legal system to commit election fraud in order to maintain their positions of power.

Other shady facts about this case include: a law firm that has represented both the incumbents and also The Woodlands Development Company (the primary company receiving money from the RUD bonds), campaign contributions for political officials intent on prosecuting Jenkins and his friends which came from both The Woodlands Development Company and the law firm. Additionally, a sworn affidavit from Jim Doyle who spoke with Tommy Williams about the case where Williams acknowledge that he would “influence Attorney General Greg Abbot to prosecute [them]” was not allowed as evidence in these individuals cases.

Luckily for Jenkins, the Judge overturned the conviction and sent the case for retrial. Unfortunately, Jenkins’s fate still hangs in the balance and The Woodlands RUD #1 continues to create more local government debt to pay the contractors of their choosing unchallenged and without constituents to hold them accountable.

Democracy Restoration Act

The Democracy Restoration Act (DRA) is a bill that if passed would restore voting rights to 5.85 million released from prison or on probation.

The first attempt at passing the Democracy Restoration Act was in 2008, since then annual attempts have been made at passing the legislation.

The 2015 Act was introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) as S.772 on 03/18/15. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) introduced the House, H.R.1459, the following day.

Democracy Restoration Act Facts

Below are a number of facts on the Democracy Restoration Act and the Americans affected by it. All facts come directly from the bill itself, learn more at the Brennan Center for Justice.

  • The Democracy Restoration Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), would allow former inmates  the right to vote in elections for federal office.
  • Currently about 5.85 million Americans are unable to vote due to being incarcerated in the past.
  • About 75% or 4.4 million are finished serving their sentences reside in the communities while on probation or parole or after having completed their sentences.
  • About 2.6 million who have completed their sentences remain unable to vote due to state laws.
  • 15 states and the District of Columbia already restore voting rights upon release from prison.
  • 35 states continue to restrict the voting rights of people who are no longer incarcerated.

If the bill becomes law, the Democracy Restoration Act Would:

  • Restore the rights of voters who are done serving their sentence.
  • Ensure that American citizens on probation will never lose their right to vote in federal elections.
  • Notify people about their right to vote in federal elections when they are leaving prison, sentenced to probation, or convicted of a misdemeanor.
  • Eliminate the opportunity for erroneous purges of eligible citizens from the voting rolls and relieves confusion among election officials and the public about who is eligible to vote.
  • Allow people to vote after incarceration encourages participation in civic life and helps rebuild ties to the community that motivate law-abiding behavior.
  • Help to put an end to restrictive voting laws that disproportionally affect African-Americans.
  • Nationwide 2 million African-Americans are unable to vote due to past incarceration. Given current rates of incarceration, approximately 1 in 3 of the next generation of African-American men will be disenfranchised at some point during their lifetime
  • If current incarceration trends hold, 17 percent of Latino men will be incarcerated during their lifetimes, in contrast to less than 6 percent of non-Latino White men.

Read the bill: The Democracy Restoration Act (DRA)

Learn more about DRA at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Mandatory Voting

WASHINGTON (AP) — They say the only two things that are certain in life are death and taxes. President Barack Obama wants to add one more: voting.

Obama floated the idea of mandatory voting in the U.S. while speaking to a civic group in Cleveland on Wednesday. Asked about the corrosive influence of money in U.S. elections, Obama digressed into the related topic of voting rights and said the U.S. should be making it easier — not harder— for people to vote.

Just ask Australia, where citizens have no choice but to vote, the president said.

“If everybody voted, then it would completely change the political map in this country,” Obama said, calling it potentially transformative. Not only that, Obama said, but universal voting would “counteract money more than anything.”

Disproportionately, Americans who skip the polls on Election Day are younger, lower-income and more likely to be immigrants or minorities, Obama said. “There’s a reason why some folks try to keep them away from the polls,” he said in a veiled reference to efforts in a number of Republican-led states to make it harder for people to vote.

Statistically speaking, Obama is correct. Less than 37 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in the 2014 midterms, according to the United States Election Project. And a Pew Research Center study found that those avoiding the polls in 2014 tended to be younger, poorer, less educated and more racially diverse.

At least two dozen countries have some form of compulsory voting, including Belgium, Brazil and Argentina. In many systems, absconders must provide a valid excuse or face a fine, although a few countries have laws on the books that allow for potential imprisonment.

At issue, Obama said, is the outsize influence that those with money can have on U.S. elections, where low overall turnout often gives an advantage to the party best able to turn out its base. Obama has opposed Citizens United and other court rulings that cleared the way for super PACs and unlimited campaign spending, but embraced such groups in his 2012 re-election campaign out of fear he’d be outspent.

Obama said he thought it would be “fun” for the U.S. to consider amending the Constitution to change the role that money plays in the electoral system. But don’t hold your breath.

“Realistically, given the requirements of that process, that would be a long-term proposition,” he said.


Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Cleveland and Emily Swanson in Washington contributed to this report.

What is

Back in before the 2012 elections two things caught the attention of my partner and I, voter fraud and ObamaCare. We were hearing a lot of disinformation about the new healthcare law and the prevalence of individual voter fraud. We decided to create “facts sites” to combat the misinformation of these two topics.

ObamaCare, as it turns out, was very popular. We focused most of our attention towards that site. Over the years “the ObamaCare site” grew in popularity and we had less time to devote to the voter fraud site.

Today have grown our team and have the resources to ensure that gets treated with the respect it deserves. Expect a bevy of facts, stats, and important information related to voter fraud in the upcoming weeks and months.

We promise you, the reader, that we will stick to the truth to help facilitate an accurate discussion on voter fraud in America. If you think anything we wrote was misleading or wrong just leave a comment and we will fact-check it.