A non-United States citizen was charged, arrested, and indicted for illegally voting in the November 2016 general election, says Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Late Tuesday, Paxton announced that Marites Canete Curry, a noncitizen Navarro County resident, was charged with one count of illegal voting following an investigation by the AG’s election fraud unit.
According to the AG’s office, Navarro County election records indicated Curry illegally registered to vote in June prior to casting a ballot in November 2016.
“This latest election fraud arrest demonstrates my office’s commitment to ensuring that Texas has the most secure elections in the country,” said Paxton in a press release. “Illegal voting undermines one of the most fundamental principles of our nation: one person, one vote. Violators of our election laws will be caught and prosecuted.”
In Texas, illegal voting is a second degree felony punishable up to 20 years in prison and a up to a $10,000 fine.
From 2005 to 2017, the attorney general’s office prosecuted 97 defendants for numerous voter fraud violations, according to the press release. In 2018, Paxton’s election fraud unit, with the assistance of a criminal justice grant from the office of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, prosecuted 33 defendants for a total of 97 election fraud violations. This included investigations and/or prosecutions involving noncitizen voting cases, as was reported by Breitbart News.
In June, Salvadoran national Mario Obdulio Orellana was indicted by federal prosecutors for illegally living in Texas since the 1980s. Officials said Orellana falsified documents to obtain a U.S. birth certificate, applied for and received a U.S. passport and a Social Security number. Orellano reportedly claimed to be a U.S. citizen when he registered to vote and fraudulently cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election.
Days later, Marcela Gutierrez, a noncitizen accused of leading a “voter assistance” ring targeting elderly and disabled voters, was indicted by a Hidalgo County grand jury on illegal voting charges. Prosecutors said she misled a voter to believe she was demonstrating how to use a voting machine. In actuality, Gutierrez voted for a slate of candidates she was paid to support in the June 2016 Hidalgo city runoff election. Two of her fellow campaign workers, Sylvia Arojano and Sara Ornelas, also were charged with seven counts of unlawfully assisting voters. Reportedly, Arojano was the wife of a Hidalgo County school district trustee.
Then, in September, Mexican national Laura Janeth Garza pleaded guilty to voter fraud charges for voting in three election cycles, including 2016. She did so by stealing a Texan’s identity to obtain a U.S. passport and Social Security number. The American citizen victim learned about the fraud when she tried to apply for a passport in her own name and discovered Garza already did. Garza received 10 years in jail, after which she will be deported.
On a related note, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a national election integrity law firm, filed a lawsuit last March against Harris County for allegedly failing to disclose noncitizen voter records as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, better known as the “Motor Voter” law. In May, Paxton urged a state court judge in a separate lawsuit to facilitate the foundation’s request after Harris County sued over an AG’s ruling that noncitizen records should be disclosed under Texas law.