Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos referred a complaint he received about Democratic Party pre-filled voter applications affecting Rio Grande Valley noncitizens to Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Pablos requested assistance from Paxton in “reviewing allegations of criminal activity in connection with pre-marked voter registration applications sent to multiple non-United States citizens in the Rio Grande Valley, as well as with applications sent to deceased individuals.”
Last week, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), a national election integrity law firm, alerted district attorneys in Starr and Hidalgo Counties about “altered” voter applications sent by the Texas Democratic Party to South Texas noncitizens. The mailers urged recipients to fill out the forms “immediately” to cast ballots in the November midterm election. The applications came with the U.S. citizenship box pre-checked as “yes,” potentially creating false claims of voter eligibility, according to the complaint.
“Section 13.007 of the Texas Election Code provides that a person commits an offense if the person knowingly makes a false statement or requests, commands, or attempts to induce another person to make a false statement on a voter registration application,” wrote Pablos’ office in a letter to the AG’s office. “A violation of Section 13.007 of the Texas Election Code is a Class B misdemeanor.”
In a statement Pablos said:
The numerous calls and complaints we have received regarding pre-filled voter registration applications sent to ineligible voters are highly disturbing, and our office has requested General Paxton investigate these troublesome claims. We continue to urge all Texans to be vigilant when receiving registration or ballot by mail materials from third parties, and my office will continue to work to ensure that Texans and Texas voters are protected from any illegal activity.
On Friday, the Secretary of State first warned Texans of the potential fraudulent voter registration materials in response to calls from residents who said they receive the pre-filled voter application mailers.
“This is a critical step in protecting both resident citizens and immigrants alike from the consequences of ineligible voting activity,” said J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel for PILF, in a statement commending Pablos’ decision to refer the matter to Paxton.
“It was wholly unnecessary for the Texas Democrats to alter voter registration forms,” said Adams. “They invited confusion and potentially unlawful activity where the consequences would only be paid by immigrant communities.”
Paxton’s office prosecuted two such cases through its election fraud unit.
In Texas, illegal voting is a second degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In September, a Mexican national received 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to voter fraud charges including ineligible voting in Montgomery County. Last year, a Mexican national and legal permanent U.S. resident got an eight year prison sentence for falsely claiming U.S. citizenship in Dallas County where she voted as a Republican at least five times. Deportation proceedings can follow.
This year, Paxton pledged support to district attorneys in Starr and Hidalgo counties in combating voter fraud concerns in their respective communities. In 2017, the AG assisted Dallas County DA Faith Johnson (R) in a mail-in ballot voter fraud probe that temporarily halted the results of two hotly contested Democrat Party city council races. It later netted an indictment.
Recently, the AG’s office investigated four North Texas women who later were indicted on 30 felony counts of voter fraud targeting elderly voters. In March, Paxton announced his office would prosecute three South Texas residents indicted on nine counts of voter fraud allegedly committed during the 2016 Nueces County election. Two years ago, Paxton’s opened the largest voter fraud case in the state’s history in Tarrant County.
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