A candidate for mayor in Carrollton, Texas, just north of Dallas, has been charged with election fraud after allegedly requesting absentee ballots in other people's names.
Zul Mirza Mohamed was arrested and charged on Thursday after an investigation revealed dozens of ballot requests originated from the same Post Office box which was linked to a nursing home.
The Denton County Sheriff’s Office found the PO box had been rented with fake IDs and those whose names appeared on the requested ballots said they had made no such request to vote through the mail, according to the Washington Times.
The Sheriff's office subsequently set up surveillance at the PO box, and on Wednesday an individual arrived to collect the ballots that had been fraudulently sent there. After following the suspect, they arrested Mohamed who was in possession of other stolen ballots and the fake IDs used to secure the PO box.
Mohamed is currently running for the mayorship of Carrollton, a town of just under 150,000 people, against incumbent Kevin Falconer, who has been expected to win throughout the campaign.
Mohamed has been charged with 84 counts of mail ballot application fraud and 25 counts of unlawful possession of an official mail ballot. If convicted, he faces heavy fines and up to 20 years in prison.
The arrest comes amid rising concern over the safety and integrity of mail-in ballots during a contentious election season. President Trump has consistently said that voting by mail is risky and susceptible to fraud and theft, but Democrats have encouraged voters to vote by mail, saying such stories are bogeymen invented by conservatives to disenfranchise voters.
Update: Zul Mirza Mohamed was running for mayor in Carrollton, Texas as a non-partisan candidate against incumbent Kevin Falconer. An early version of this story incorrectly described Mohamed as a Democratic candidate for mayor when mayoral candidates in Texas are not traditionally affiliated with a political party.