Investigation: Tilting the Scales, Part II
EDINBURG – A woman is coming forward admitting she voted illegally in Edinburg’s November election but she’s pointing the finger at an elected official for helping her do it.
This story is part of a CHANNEL 5 NEWS investigation into questionable voting practices.
The Texas Rangers are investigating voter fraud out of the city of Edinburg connected to the November 2017 election, according to a DPS spokesperson.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS submitted an open records request to the Hidalgo County Election Department asking for new voter and change of address forms.
One change of address form, in a pile of 1,300 forms, belonged to a woman who doesn’t live in Edinburg but she changed her address to a home in the city limits. She asked to remain anonymous.
“It’s difficult because we all have our different views of what we consider the appropriateness of a democracy, put aside everything just from human to human,” she said. “It’s just morally wrong to do this to so many people with the only outlook of a personal gain.”
Voter records confirm she voted in Edinburg in November of 2017.
She said then Edinburg mayoral candidate Richard Molina approached her about changing her address.
“I changed it because I had an in-law relative who was running for a local election, for the Edinburg mayor,” she said.
A text message conversation between the two started on Aug. 30, 2017, well before Molina was elected mayor.
The woman started the text message conversation.
The first text sent to Molina: “My sister mentioned you wanted me to register under her address.”
Molina responded a few days later: “Call me.”
“I’m in a meeting, when is the date for your election? March as well?”
Molina responded: “No. Next month.”
Molina continues the conversation and instructs her to go to Odyssey at 3224 South Sugar. The address was to his business in Edinburg.
She said she didn’t realize she was doing anything wrong.
“I didn’t think that would be feasible for me to do and Molina said it didn’t matter. So, I went in and I changed the address, very easily, no one gave me any resistance. They didn’t even ask me for my ID and it was changed,” she said.
The text message conversations between them carried on for nearly two weeks.
The last message on Sept. 19 to Molina read: “I’m outside of the 101 S 10th”. That’s the address of Hidalgo County’s election office building.
The woman’s change of address was submitted on that date.
She said she wanted to come forward because of the recent arrests happening in Starr County. Seven people were charged with some kind of voter fraud in Starr County.
She said she eventually plans to reach out to authorities to clear herself.
“I’m sure there are plenty of others and it didn’t feel good at all,” she said. “I’m sure they probably feel the same way, it’s very unfortunate that I fell into that position.”
CHANNEL 5 NEWS sent a request to Edinburg Public Information Officer Cary Zayas for an interview with Mayor Richard Molina to get his side but he declined to speak with us.
The woman who came forward said she ended up changing her address back to where she actually lives.