The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office receives complaints every election year.

“We get five to six complaints every election cycle about people who are running for
office not meeting residency requirements,” said Lloyd Whelchel, an assistant criminal
district attorney who heads the White Collar/Public Integrity team.

Tarrant County isn’t alone. Residency complaints are being reviewed in cities and counties across the country, addressing cases ranging from a Senate race in Warren County, North Carolina, to a City Council race in Trenton, New Jersey.

In Texas, similar complaints have drawn headlines even in the least populated county,
Loving, where state election officials are looking into whether a county commissioner
actually lives in that county or a nearby community.

In Tarrant County, there are more than 500 locally elected officials and each post has a
requirement that candidates live in the district they represent.

“If you intend to run for office, talk to officials to see if you meet the residency
requirement,” Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said. “To be on
the ballot, you have to honestly state where you live.”

Kyev Tatum, pastor of New Mount Rose Missionary Baptist Church and president of the
Ministers Justice Coalition of Texas, said he welcomes any effort to make sure all
candidates follow election rules.

“Our main concern is, if you are willing to engage in fraudulent activities to get elected,
how are we going to be able to trust that you are fair when you get elected,” Tatum said.
“This win-at-all cost attitude we are seeing … is what is causing a push back from those
asking for stronger voting restrictions.”

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