With the addition of the most recent batch of circumstances, all from the state of Texas, The Heritage Foundation’s Election Fraud Database now has 1,302 circumstances of confirmed election fraud, and we’re following quite a few different ongoing prosecutions.
As these circumstances and the database reveal, the threats to election integrity and instances of election fraud all through the nation continue to jeopardize honest and free elections for the American individuals.
The Texas circumstances additionally reveal that fraud can occur at completely different factors in the course of the election course of, and that it successfully dilutes reliable ballots solid by authorized voters.
Through the 2014 normal election, for instance, Avery Ayers sought to run as an unbiased difficult Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. Nonetheless, he forged the signatures of voters to qualify to be a candidate on the poll. Ayers pleaded responsible to a third-degree felony fraud cost in state court docket and was sentenced to 5 years in jail.
Although he was paroled 5 months into his sentence on that cost, he’s now in federal jail for a separate wiretapping felony.
Threats to honest and free elections can happen on the registration course of, as some fraudsters use invalid or business addresses to register to vote in areas the place they don’t truly reside.
In 2013, a gaggle of at the very least 4 individuals tried to take over an area utility board by falsely registering a Residence Inn as their house address.
James Jenkins, just lately added to the database, pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 12 months of probation and a $2,000 advantageous for his involvement on this scheme. One co-conspirator was convicted by a jury and sentenced to 3 years in jail, and two different conspirators entered pretrial diversion applications to keep away from prosecution.
Others, like Israel Garza, try to vote regardless that they’re ineligible. When profitable, such actions can negate the poll of a reliable voter, successfully disenfranchising that voter.
Garza, a convicted felon whose rights had not been restored, tried to vote in a 2010 Texas municipal election regardless that he was ineligible. He pleaded responsible to tried unlawful voting and was sentenced to a 12 months in jail, two years of probation, and fined $2,500.
One other convicted felon, Benito Aranda Jr., voted within the 2012 Texas main election. He was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in jail for voting illegally as a convicted felon, however is serving the rest of his sentence below “group supervision.” That’s the Texas time period for probation.
The Heritage database is just not an exhaustive, nor complete listing. It doesn’t seize all circumstances, and definitely doesn’t seize all reported situations or allegations of election fraud, a few of which can be deserving of being investigated or prosecuted, however aren’t.
However the database does spotlight vulnerabilities within the election system.
We do our greatest to trace circumstances which are delivered to our consideration, however we don’t add them to our database till a conviction has been obtained or a civil judgment entered.
Take, for instance, a prosecution we’re presently monitoring in Texas, involving a social worker who has been charged with 134 felony counts of election fraud.
Kelly Reagan Brunner labored in a state-supported establishment for Texans with mental and developmental disabilities. She is alleged to have registered 67 of the residents to vote with out their data or consent, lots of whom had been declared mentally incompetent below Texas legislation.
As Texas Legal professional Common Ken Paxton mentioned, it “is especially offensive when people purport to be champions for incapacity rights, when in actuality they’re abusing our most susceptible residents with a view to acquire entry to their ballots and amplify their very own political voice.”
One other prosecution we’re monitoring, this one out of Los Angeles, entails Carlos Antonio De Bourbon Montenegro, aka Mark Anthony Gonsalves, a potential mayoral candidate. He was just lately charged with quite a few felony and misdemeanor offenses of election fraud for his alleged involvement in a scheme that’s mentioned to have concerned submitting fraudulent voter registrations on behalf of homeless people.
It’s alleged that Montenegro filed greater than 8,000 false registration functions over 5 months, forging names, addresses, and different data on nomination paperwork.
Fortunately, this tried fraud was caught earlier than a poll was solid because of the actions of a county registrar who flagged the suspicious conduct.
Different prosecutions we have now just lately began monitoring contain different convicted felons illegally voting.
In Wisconsin, it’s alleged that at the very least 4 felons voted regardless of being on a particular parole standing that prohibited them from voting. These males had been convicted of violent felonies, together with rape, housebreaking, and strangulation of a girl.
Are you able to think about the anger of their victims, or the victims’ households, understanding that these criminals have been casting ballots, participating within the course of that determines the legal guidelines that they deliberately violated?
As these circumstances reveal, election fraud typically harms essentially the most marginalized in communities, damaging the ability the individuals need to freely select their representatives.
Consciousness of the present threats is step one in securing honest and safe elections and ought to be a bipartisan precedence in each state.
Within the meantime, we are going to proceed to convey consideration to, and doc, election fraud circumstances and convictions occurring all through the nation.