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Voter Fraud Gaining More Attention in Valley

2 years 7 months 5 days ago Monday, February 19 2018 Feb 19, 2018 February 19, 2018 2:23 PM February 19, 2018 in News

WESLACO – A few arrests have been made out of Starr County. The district attorney’s office is examining the county voter rolls and is looking for people who voted illegally.

The DA’s concerns include mail-in ballot application fraud, unlawful influencing of voters and illegal voting by non-residents and non-citizens.

“It’s almost an invitation for fraud because let’s say you have 500 to 1,000 ballots floating around, a local race can be decided by a couple of votes,” said Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar. “There’s an incentive to do whatever it takes to get those mail-in ballots.”

Escobar reached out to the Texas Attorney General’s Office with his findings and asked for assistance.

The Attorney General’s Office responded in a letter.

The attention of voter fraud is also being felt across the state. Attorney General Ken Paxton sent a letter to Senator Bryan Hughes, the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Election Integrity, addressing a significant voter fraud initiative. Paxton expresses the need for additional potential measures to address mail-in ballot fraud.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to the AG asking if his office was involved in any current voter fraud investigations in the Rio Grade Valley. The office couldn’t comment.

We also reached out to the Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office asking about any on-going voter fraud investigations. The office also had no comment.

Willacy County said they have no ongoing investigations.

“The voter has the ultimate responsibility to assure the information given to us is correct,” said Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon.

Ramon said no matter who asks you to vote illegally, bottom line, you the voter will get in trouble if caught.

“The information on your voter registration database is signified by your home, your residence, where you live, where your home is, and so the information given to us by the voter and their signature is actually an affidavit,” Ramon said.

That affidavit is on all Texas Voter Registration applications.

It reads: “I understand that giving false information to procure a voter registration is perjury and a crime under state and federal law.”

Escobar said it will be up to a jury to decide whether the voter is telling the truth or whether they acted in good faith.

More arrests are possible in the Starr County voter fraud investigation.

Charges for voting illegally vary, depending on how the crime was committed, but the punishment can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a state jail felony.

To report voter fraud to the Texas Secretary of State call 1-800-252-8683.

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