Starr Co. Reports Preliminary Findings on Voter Fraud Investigation
RIO GRANDE CITY – Starr County reports preliminary findings on their ongoing investigation of voter fraud. This follows recent changes to the election code.
Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar Jr. is conducting this investigation in an effort to clean the voter rolls ahead of the primaries. He's invoking the new changes to the election code focusing on protecting the privacy of voters who mail in their ballots.
Parts of the election code were changed by the recent Texas Legislature. One is focusing on election fraud by those falsely registering as disabled to be eligible for a mail-in ballot.
"We have evidence, at this point, to believe that more than one person has requested an application for ballot by mail when they are clearly not disabled," said Escobar.
Escobar says the state is concerned with the ways in which fraud can be committed with ballots outside of a polling site.
Certain activity will catch their attention, says Escobar. "If they see somebody in their 20s or the number of applications that are coming from one location, it begins to raise a question."
The whole investigation began after a conversation with the election administration about non-U.S. citizens registered to vote.
Escobar stated, "We can confirm for sure that there have been persons, that there are persons, who are registered to vote who are non-U.S. citizens."
Another portion of the changes focuses on election fraud. This includes people who are helping voters fill out forms with any false information. Figuring out if an offense is committed comes with its challenges.
He said, "The fact that it may be somewhat difficult to prove doesn't mean that we won't try to enforce the law as it's written."
The penalties for committing offenses under the new changes to the code range from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony. Escobar says voters have a chance to avoid this fate.
He recommends, "You approach the Elections Administration Office and tell them, 'you know what, we may be registered to vote and that may be a mistake. It might be by error and we want to correct this error right now.'"
The primaries are set to start February. Escobar says if voters cast a ballot under any false statements made on any forms, they will be opening up themselves to this investigation.
The Starr County District Attorney's Office is helping to update the Elections Administrator's Office on those people under felony supervision. The Elections Office was given a list of almost 700 people who by law cannot vote.