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Bell County officials clear up concerns after website shows deceased father voted in election

Posted at 12:57 PM, Nov 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-05 17:21:22-05

TROY, TX — A Troy man reached out to 25 News with concerns after a website claimed his deceased father voted in the election. 25 News spoke to local election officials to separate fact from fiction.

Richard Eitel III clicked onto txballot.org Tuesday to find his name and date he voted. However, he was shocked by what he found.

“Just out for giggles, I wanted to see if my dad voted. It came up that he casted a ballot,” he said.

The problem? His father, Richard Eitel II, passed away 21 years ago.

“While I was on the phone yesterday, my brother came into the house and asked me what I was doing,” Eitel III explained. “I said, "You know dad voted yesterday.” He said, "You’re joking. No, this is strange. What’s going on?"”

Eitel III said he reached out to the Texas Attorney General, Secretary of State and Senator Ted Cruz to see if they could provide any insight, but did not hear back.

“I don’t know what’s going on. It could be voter fraud. I don’t know how much you could get worse," he said.

Eitel said he wants to notify the right authorities if it is voter fraud, so that’s where 25 News came in to help.

Interim Bell County Elections Administrator Matthew Dutton said sometimes people run into this issue when they don’t use Bell County’s voting website.

“If you can’t verify that it’s actual accurate county information or even state information, because we report stuff to the State of Texas, then I wouldn’t trust it,” said Dutton.

25 News looked up the Eitel's voting information on the county voting website, but we only found Eitel III's information.

Dutton said most likely the site the Eitel's used is out of date.

“We get tons of information from throughout the county as far as if people are deceased or if they moved. We get notices daily. Our voter file gets updated pretty regularly," he explained.

Dutton said they also work with state officials to make sure their voter registration information is up-to-date to prevent voter fraud, something he said his office hasn’t seen in Bell County in at least a decade.