Voting fraud is normal in South Texas?

Steve Miller on election fraud in South Texas:

In a courtroom here, Dora Gonzalez confessed.

She had intentionally hampered the voting process by mishandling more than 100 absentee ballots in the March 2 Democratic primary in Val Verde County. By 29 votes, her employer, County Commissioner Jesus Ortiz, had won the primary, effectively handing him re-election in this Democratic county. Challenger Gus Flores alleged voter fraud and sued.

A judge ruled in August that Gonzalez' activity on Ortiz' behalf was illegal and ordered a new primary. Under close scrutiny, the election was won by Flores with a 306-vote margin.

In many ways, the case is typical of voter fraud in South Texas: Many violators are not charged -- Gonzalez wasn't either --- because prosecutors complain the cases are hard to prove. When they are prosecuted, the penalties are so small they don't deter the crime. So, with payment as "get out the vote" workers for candidates, the vote harvesters continue to hijack absentee ballots by sending applications on behalf of voters, arriving on their doorstep as the ballots arrive and coaching their votes.

"It's almost like it's OK because it's always been done," said Rudy Montalvo, election administrator in Starr County, which hugs the Mexican border just northwest of McAllen. He's done battle with his own Dora Gonzalezes, to little avail.

Will people continue to repeat the canard that "there are almost no proven cases of voting fraud in Texas" just because convictions are rare? Even with a confession, she wasn't even prosecuted.

Texas Watchdog actually makes the whole article available for republication under a Creative Commons license.

Posted by Evan @ 12/30/10 02:25 PM


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