AUSTIN (KXAN) — Equity Action claims video and audio recordings show canvassers claiming to work for Equity Action asking for signatures on a petition.
“There are people circulating a petition in our community collecting signatures, and they’re doing so falsely in our name,” said Equity Action Board President Chris Harris, adding he believes these canvassers are trying to tap into early voting crowds.
Harris said the new petition is titled “Austin Police Oversight Act.”
That’s the same name of a petition the real Equity Action collected enough signatures on over the summer to put in front of the city council.
But the petition circulating now is different. Equity Action provided the below checklist to show the differences, from the group’s perspective.
“This is an urgent voter alert,” said Equity Action Senior Advisor Kathy Mitchell. The group is now exploring legal options.
According to the City of Austin, the city clerk does not have oversight authority to dig into the canvasser’s action.
The City also said if the “fraudulent” petition was filed — by the proper deadline and with valid signatures — the clerk would have to process it like any other petition.
According to Mari Robinson with the League of Women Voters Austin Area, it would take a lawsuit or criminal charges to stop the canvassers.
“Overseeing whether someone is who they say to be or whether they have the authority to act as they’re claiming to act, that’s going to fall more in the realm of criminal law enforcement,” she said. “Or sometimes civil enforcement if one group thinks someone is impersonating them.”
She added the League of Women Voters has a guide that covers ballot initiatives, breaking the measures down into “digestible” summaries.