We've written about voter fraud several times in the past few weeks, including an ironic voter ID controversy at the California Democratic convention -- as well as this case out of Florida, in which fraudulent ballots may have tipped the balance in an extremely close local election. Yesterday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott tweeted out a Dallas Morning News story detailing an arrest warrant issued pertaining to a voter fraud investigation that may have impacted hundreds of mail-in ballots. Authorities say more arrest warrants may be coming soon:
Authorities have issued their first arrest warrant in the Dallas County voter fraud case that roiled the May municipal elections in West Dallas and Grand Prairie, causing 700 suspicious mail-in ballots to be sequestered. Miguel Hernandez, 27, of Dallas, is wanted on a charge of illegal voting, a third-degree felony. He is accused of visiting a woman around April 10 and collecting her blank absentee ballot, then filling it out and forging her signature on it before mailing it to the county, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Authorities say they plan to make more arrests in the case. Last month, Assistant District Attorney Andy Chatham and Elections Administrator Toni Pippins-Poole named two persons of interest in the investigation, neither of whom was Hernandez. Prosecutor Mike Snipes, a former judge and federal attorney, said Friday afternoon that he couldn't say too much about the case, as it's ongoing. But he did say his office had been contacted by a woman from West Dallas who "knew she'd been duped into sending out an improper ballot" and contacted the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. She was shown a lineup and identified Hernandez.
Another person of interest related to the scheme appears to be an alleged whistleblower (a liberal "political activist" who may actually have been in on the illegal conduct) who released audio tapes of a since-removed Democratic precinct chair discussing faking his own address and stealing hundreds of mail-in ballots. The fraud conspiracy seems to have targeted senior citizens:
During the weeks leading up to the elections, dozens of senior citizens in West Dallas and Grand Prairie filed complaints saying they had received mail-in ballots that they had not requested. Some of them had also been told their mail-in ballot applications said they had been assisted by a "Jose Rodriguez," a man they didn't know. At the district attorney's request, a judge ordered the sequestration of 700 ballots that were linked to "Jose Rodriguez," which authorities believed to be a fake name. According to the affidavit, a voter who had complained that her application listed "Jose Rodriguez" told investigators that she had placed a blank ballot in a white envelope and put that inside a "carrier envelope," before giving it to the man who said he would "ostensibly" give it to the elections department. When she handed her ballot over, she hadn't signed her voter signature or that anyone had assisted her, she told investigators. But authorities showed her the one that the elections office had received, which showed both lines signed.A number of news accounts about the imbroglio failed to mention the political party entangled in the mess -- additional digging turned up the answer: Democrats. The Texas Democratic Party released a bizarre statement in late May condemning the alleged crimes and supporting a "full and thorough" investigation, while emphasizing potshots at "discriminatory" anti-fraud measures backed by Republicans. It takes some gall to attack the opposition for telling "fairy tales" about illegal voting...while your party is embroiled in a scandal over illegal voting. Liberals who oppose voter ID laws (except when they realize they have cause for concern over the integrity of ballot counting) would argue that mandatory photo ID's would not have prevented the form of cheating in which Dallas-area Democratic officials and activists were allegedly involved.
That's true, as this particular plan did not entail wrongful in-person voting. But the situation underscores the degree to which partisans can be motivated to break the rules to gain an electoral advantage, as other Democratic officials have admitted on tape in the recent past. Safeguards against all sorts of fraud should be enacted and taken seriously; requiring valid identification to confirm the identities of would-be voters is an obvious and overwhelmingly popular element of that process. I'll leave you with this helpful background report from the local CBS affiliate, which aired last month: