Texas AG Probes Voter Fraud in Border City

Texas voting
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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Wednesday that his office is investigating alleged voter fraud activities stemming back to a 2017 election in a city located on the U.S. and Mexico border.

Last week, a task force consisting of investigators with the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office, Texas Rangers, and two officials with the voter fraud unit of the Office of the Texas Attorney General arrested four individuals for their purported involvement in an illegal voting scheme during the November 2017 Edinburg municipal election.

“Anyone who attempts to deprive the people of Texas of their voice by undermining the integrity of elections will be brought to justice and penalized by the full extent of the law,” said Paxton in a prepared statement.

Previously, Breitbart Texas reported:

Authorities claim that Crystal Lee Ponce voted in a November 2017 municipal election in Edinburg even though she is a convicted felon. A criminal complaint filed in the 398th State District Court revealed that Ponce was sentenced to a three-year probation term in August 2016 and would not have been able to vote in the local election. Investigators claim that prior to the election, she filed a change of address to reflect she was living in Edinburg. The application asked if she had any felony convictions to which she allegedly signed “no.”

A complaint filed in the 398th State District Court revealed that San Juanita Aleman was arrested on the charge of illegal voting for allegedly participating in the November 2017 Edinburg municipal election despite reportedly living outside of the political jurisdiction.

A criminal complaint filed against Veronica Vela Saenz, also in the 398th State District Court, revealed that she was charged with one count of illegal voting. Authorities claimed she registered to vote in Edinburg and voted in the 2017 election when she was living in McAllen, Texas.

A criminal complaint filed in the same court revealed that Jose Antonio Vela was charged with one count of making a false statement on a voter registration application. Authorities claim that prior to the November 2017 election, Vela changed his voter registration information to show that he lived in Edinburg when according to authorities, he lives in Mission, Texas. The address that Vela listed belongs to a woman he has no connection with.

In Texas, illegal voting is a second degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Making a false statement on a voter registration application is a Class B misdemeanor.

On Wednesday, Paxton reiterated his office’s commitment to protecting election integrity. He said, “These arrests further demonstrate my office’s commitment to ensuring that the voting process is secure and fair in all Texas elections.”

This year, the AG announced his office will prosecute three individuals charged with a total of nine counts of voter fraud related to a 2016 municipal election in Nueces County. Kara Sands, the county clerk, uncovered evidence of the purported voter fraud.

Paxton also offered assistance to Starr County’s district attorney, Omar Escobar, for a separate voter fraud crackdown after questionable voter records and mail-in ballot applications surfaced. So far, seven have been arrested.

Recently, the AG said his office will prosecute a non-U.S. citizen indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury on two counts of election fraud for illegally voting in the November 2016 presidential election. The accused, a Mexican national, allegedly stole a Texan’s identity by acquiring their U.S. passport and registered to vote in Harris County, casting ballots in 2004 and 2012 as well.

In March, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), a national election integrity law firm, filed a lawsuit 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. Since then, Paxton urged a state court judge in a separate lawsuit to facilitate the PILF’s request for records after Harris County sued over a ruling that noncitizen records should be disclosed under Texas law. The watchdog group also put Bexar County on federal notice for failing to disclose noncitizen registration records.

Last year, the AG’s office assisted Tarrant County officials in a case where, ultimately, a judge sentenced a Mexican national for illegally voting in Dallas County elections for a decade. Additionally, the AG offered investigative support to Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson after allegations of widespread voter fraud emerging in several precincts over suspicious-looking signatures on mail-in ballots during a May 2017 Dallas City Council election.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.

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