For the past month, officials have been investigating allegations of mail ballot fraud on a massive scale in a municipal election in West Dallas, Texas. 700 suspicious ballots have been sequestered, and prosecutors are asking a just to sequester all mail-in ballots submitted in the runoff election next week.
This appears to be a broad scheme to steal the election, though by whom has yet to be uncovered. 700 votes can easily change the outcome of many municipal elections.
The first arrest warrant was issued today:
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.
Hernandez's alleged actions were part of a massive effort to defraud senior citizens of their votes by requesting and then collecting blank mail-in ballots:
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. . . .
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.
The problems that have been alleged in West Dallas are indicative of how easily mail ballots can be manipulated and fraudulently voted. Sadly, the vulnerable populations, like senior citizens, that rely most heavily on mail ballots are the ones disenfranchised by such fraud.
We hope that the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity can bring to light more cases like this and develop recommendations for ensuring that senior citizens and others are not disenfranchised through mail ballot fraud.