“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,” Patrick said in a Nov. 10 news release.
Now, nearly a year later, Patrick has given out his first reward — but not to a member of his party, the Dallas Morning News reported this week. Patrick’s campaign sent a $25,000 check to Eric Frank, a Democratic poll worker from Pennsylvania whose tip led to the recent conviction of a 72-year-old registered Republican who cast a second vote in his son’s name last November, the Morning News reported.
Having deposited his check, Frank told the Morning News that Patrick’s plan may have backfired.
“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.”
Claims of voter fraud by Trump and prominent Republicans persisted following the 2020 election, despite a dearth of evidence, failed court challenges and audits in key swing states that only confirmed Biden’s victory.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officials in those states discovered a relatively small number of voter fraud cases worth investigating. In Pennsylvania, at least three Republicans were among the targets, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The list included Ralph Thurman, whom Frank caught voting a second time at a Chester County, Pa., polling station.
A spokesperson for Patrick did not respond to a request for comment late Thursday.
On Election Day, Thurman, a registered Republican, cast his own ballot and then asked Frank, a poll worker, if he could vote on behalf of his son, the Daily Local News reported. Frank told Thurman that would be illegal, but Thurman showed up later wearing sunglasses and proceeded to vote again. When Frank noticed, he alerted his father, an elections judge. Thurman quickly fled the building as the father and son tried to speak with him, the paper reported.
Frank and his father provided statements to law enforcement, and prosecutors charged Thurman later that month.
After Patrick announced that he had set aside $1 million to pay $25,000-plus bounties to individuals whose tips of voter fraud led to convictions, some tipsters — including Frank — complained that Patrick offered no clear way to apply for a reward, the Morning News reported. At that point, Thurman had not been convicted and Frank was not eligible.
But in September, Thurman pleaded guilty to a charge of repeat voting, a felony for which he was sentenced to three years of probation and was barred from voting for four years, the Inquirer reported. And, after inquiries from Frank and the Morning News, Allen Blakemore, a spokesman for Patrick, said Frank could apply directly through him. When Frank did, “Texans for Dan Patrick” sent Frank a $25,000 check, which Frank previously told the Morning News he might put toward buying a house.
Blakemore confirmed to WBAP that Frank’s reward has been the only one so far, although Frank received the minimum amount. A top-dollar reward could go to “somebody who uncovers a ring of people, or somebody who is involved in multiple ballots being cast,” Blakemore told WBAP.
Frank told the Morning News he was happy that Patrick honored his word. “Thank you for putting out the bounty,” he said.