Starr County to review suspected voter fraud cases
RIO GRANDE CITY – Law enforcement in Starr County is already receiving tips of possible voter fraud. Like in years before, the problem is with mail-in ballots.
Voting by mail is not for everyone. In fact, it's illegal for some. Starr County Attorney Office Law Enforcement Liaison Brenda Lee confirmed the Special Crimes Unit is looking at suspicious applications for mail-in ballots. "At this moment we can confirm that the SCU has received a couple of cases that may be related to voter election fraud," she said.
Seven cases are waiting assignment. More could be sent their way. Lee explained, “People [need] to be aware of the ‘politiqueras’ who are going into their houses to try and take their ballots when the election season starts.”
It's not uncommon. Starr County arrested several people in 2018 for mishandling these kinds of ballots.
Only some people qualify to vote by mail. According to the Texas Secretary of State, those include people 65 years or older, disabled voters, those out of the county on Election Day or during the period for early voting by personal appearance, or those confined in jail but otherwise eligible.
If voters do not fit those categories, they are not eligible. Lee warned against letting anyone convince voters otherwise.
“You know, I work long hours of the day, I'm too tired to ride, or stuff like that. So, that's when the 'politiqueras' go in and say, well, you know, we'll take the mail-in ballot so you can go ahead and do it. And, they can end up changing it, tweaking what the choices were for the person who was trying to vote,” she said.
For those who want to apply, the deadline to submit an application for a ballot by mail is Feb. 21. If someone assists with that application, they must fill out the bottom box of the application, Box 11.
If the application for a mail-in ballot was already submitted and voters realize they are not legally eligible, there is a chance to make a correction.
According to those working at the Starr County Elections Office, when the ballot arrives by mail, you can take it to a judge at a polling site and vote in person instead.
The State of Texas cracked down on mail ballot fraud in 2017. The consequences range from being charged with a misdemeanor or even a felony.