Politics

Harris County Democratic officials decry ‘racist’ election mailers

The Democrats alleged that voters with Latino surnames are being targeted in an effort to pit them against Black voters, officials said. 

Sangoule Diop / Houston Public Media
Commissioner Adrian Garcia and county and city officials speak out against misinformation mailers that some residents have received.

Democratic elected officials across Houston and Harris County on Tuesday criticized election mailers they called racist.

Two Harris County residents said they received election-related mail with the words "Important Election Information” printed on the front containing a bumper sticker that says, “Latinos are voting republican and blacks are voting democrat” and "Los latinos están votando Republicano y los negros están votando demócrata.” It’s unclear who’s behind the mailers.

The Democrats alleged that voters with Latino surnames are being targeted in an effort to pit them against Black voters, officials said.

Commissioner Adrian Garcia's office was made aware of the first mailer on Sunday and received a phone call from another resident Tuesday morning . Garcia called upon local and state officials and community members to warn the public against circulating voter disinformation.

"It is just horrible that when people do not see the process working as it should, that they result to hate and divide," Commissioner Adrian Garcia said.

Garcia called the mailers racist and said with election season underway, voters need to be mindful of the mail they're receiving.

"When you see things come in the mail, if they're not fully disclosed by who they're coming from, then just know there's a coward behind whatever mail piece you're getting."

Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the United States and Mayor Sylvester Turner said that diversity has played a tremendous part in who he is as a mayor. Turner said the stickers are tactics to turn Houston's diverse community against each other.

"What we’re dealing with is not just an attack on one group quite frankly, it's an attack on our city and our county," Turner said. "It's an attack on Hispanics, African-Americans, Representative Wu, it's an attack on Asians, it's an attack on the LGBTQ, it's an attack on Anglos, Councilmember Abbie Camin, it's an attack on us all."

Harris County Attorney Christian Menefee said voters should pay close attention to wording on any envelopes claiming to be "Important Election Information.”

"Political advertisements have to have something on there that says ‘Political advertisement paid for’ and it has to fully disclose whether it's a candidate, political action committee, or an election official,” Menefee said.

Officials say they will share the mailers with authorities, but so far an official investigation is not underway.

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