The top election official in Texas said that his office discovered that nearly 95,000 non-U.S. citizens are registered to vote in the state and that about 58,000 of them have voted at least once. Texas Secretary of State David Whitley said that his office identified tens of thousands of illegal votes. Voting when ineligible to vote is a second-degree felony in Texas. “Integrity and efficiency of elections in Texas require accuracy of our state’s voter rolls, and my office is committed to using all available tools under the law to maintain an accurate list of registered voters,” Whitley said in a statement.
“Texas voters … should not have their voices muted by those who abuse the system,” he added. “Our agency has provided extensive training opportunities to county voter registrars so that they can properly perform list maintenance activities in accordance with federal and state law, which affords every registered voter the chance to submit proof of eligibility,” Whitley said. Groups that advocate for everyone possible to vote admitted that illegal voting does happen, but said it doesn’t happen very much. Meanwhile, Attorney General Ken Paxton confirmed that his office received the information from Whitley’s office.
“Every single instance of illegal voting threatens democracy in our state and deprives individual Texans of their voice. We’re honoured to have partnered with the Texas Secretary of State’s office in the past on voter initiatives and we will spare no effort in assisting with these troubling cases. My Election Fraud Unit stands ready to investigate and prosecute crimes against the democratic process when needed,” he said in a statement. The news came during the same week that an illegal immigrant from Mexico who admitted to voting was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Enrique Ortiz, a native of Mexico, was convicted of making a false statement on a passport application, unlawful voting by an illegal alien, and aggravated identity theft, reported the San Antonio Express-News. Ortiz used a stolen identity to vote in the 2016 presidential election. The name on the stolen ID was Jesse Vargas Jr. A public defender told District Judge Fred Biery that the Vargas identity was used by four men in total and that Ortiz had just used it in the 2016 election. Ortiz began using the name several years ago after buying it from a man in a bar for $20, she added. When asked in court whether he knew what he was doing was illegal, Ortiz said he did.
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