There is a “significant problem” with non-citizens illegally voting in our elections, according to just-released information from the office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton concerning voter fraud!
Late Monday afternoon, Paxton announced that his office has new voter fraud plans. They will curb what he frames as an epidemic of in-person and mail-in voter fraud in Texas.
He enumerated ways that the Committee on Election Integrity could address voter fraud.
“Voting for our elected leaders is a solemn right the American people hold,” he said. “We must protect the integrity of that process.”
Paxton also pledged Monday to assist Starr County DA Omar Escobar in his “fight against voter fraud.”
The Texas AG also said he “fully supports Escobar’s efforts to educate the county’s citizens on existing and amended voting laws.”
The border county DA had invited Paxton’s office to assist him with both enforcement and education of citizens.
Paxton confirmed that non-citizens are registering to vote and voting in Texas elections. Worse, procedures for removing ineligible voters from voter rolls aren’t being followed correctly. In fact, not “even at all” in some Texas counties.
It’s a violation of both state and federal law for non-citizens to vote or register to vote.
The Texas Legislature passed Senate Bill 5 (SB 5) last special session which makes it a crime to give false information on a voter application. It also provides for a criminal penalty to apply in the name of a potential voter without their consent. The offense is a felony.
In a letter to State Sen. Bryan Hughes (R–Mineola), who chairs the Senate Select Committee on Election Integrity, the OAG said: “the threat to election integrity in Texas is real, and the need to provide additional safeguards is increasing.”
Last year’s successful prosecution of Mexican national Rosa Ortega, who illegally voted in Texas for over 10 years, “highlighted the lack of safeguards in the system to detect ineligible voters, like non-citizens,” the OAG wrote to Hughes.
In response, the OAG conducted a “brief investigative survey” of four counties’ voter registration records. They found that in just the past two years, 165 unlawfully registered non-citizen voters were removed from those counties’ voter rolls – but only after they self-identified as non-citizens in the process of recusing themselves from jury duty:
“More concerning, this group of 165 non-citizens had cast 100 illegal votes in Texas elections prior to identifying themselves as non-citizens at jury duty and being removed from the voter rolls.
The OAG is unable to determine the scope of noncitizen voting across Texas. From the non-citizen jury duty numbers alone, it appears to be a significant problem. Nonetheless. the OAG has also found that the process for removing ineligible voters who self-report as non-citizens at jury duty is not being followed correctly, or even at all, in various counties. Investigations into the scope of ineligible voting across the State are ongoing.”
In 2017, Paxton’s office prosecuted a Tarrant County green card holder for illegally voting five times from 2004-14.
Rosa Maria Ortega was sentenced to eight years in prison. She testified at her trial that she believed she was a citizen.
“All my life since I worked. I always on my knowledge thought I was a U.S. citizen. I never knew the difference of U.S. citizen and U.S. resident. And the point is if I knew, everything would’ve been the correct way,” she said.
Paxton’s office also assisted the Dallas County DA’s Office. It helped with its investigation into alleged mail-in ballot fraud in last year’s Dallas City Council election. In that case, one person, Miguel Hernandez, was charged with illegal voting. He allegedly filled out a mail-in ballot application for an elderly West Dallas resident.
AG Paxton had other voter fraud fixes as well.
Paxton has also asked the Legislature to consider requiring that any person requesting an absentee ballot have photo identification on file with the state. It is a provision lifted from Wisconsin’s voter ID law. WI has the most restrictive voter fraud laws in the nation.
He also wants seniors targeted by mail-in ballot harvesters to be able to sue the people trying to manipulate their ballots. He wants to create a “low-cost non-governmental enforcement alternative for costly vote harvesting investigations.”
The AG also suggested there were additional measures the Legislature may want to consider. They include “Examining widespread abuse of voting assistance procedures to coerce and influence voters,” and “Reviewing signature review procedures for mail ballot applications.”