Election Fraud Cases
Tyron Davis, a former constable in Ellis County, Texas, was convicted of six counts of voter fraud for assisting nursing home residents with their mail-in ballots and voter registration applications without identifying his assistance on the ballot. He was also convicted of false identification as a peace officer for having pasted an image of his face onto the body of a peace officer for use on a flier advertising his assistance at the nursing home during his campaign, all before he became an officer. Davis resigned his officer's license to avoid jail time.
Jeanene Johnson pleaded guilty to unlawfully depositing a ballot. Johnson assisted Latunia Thomas, a fellow Harris County poll worker, to unlawfully cast a ballot for her daughter, who was not present. Johnson served one day in jail and was released.
Latunia Thomas pleaded guilty to unlawfully depositing a ballot. Thomas forged her daughter's signature and cast a ballot in her name although she was not present at the polls. Thomas was assisted by Jeanene Johnson, both poll workers in Harris County, Texas. Thomas was released after serving one day in jail.
Noe Olvera pleaded guilty to a federal bribery charge. Olvera, a postman, admitted to taking a $1,000 bribe from a paid campaign worker in exchange for a list of the names and addresses of mail-in ballot recipients on his postal route. After a two-year investigation into local voting fraud, hidden camera footage surfaced revealing a uniformed and on-the-job Olvera "negotiating an exchange of money for mail-in voter lists." Olvera was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison.
Rosa Maria Ortega, a non-citizen, was found guilty on two counts of voting in the November 2012 general election and the 2014 Republican primary runoff. Ortega claimed she thought she was a citizen and blamed her lack of education for the mix-up, but prosecutors pointed out that Ortega had previously indicated on a drivers license application that she was a non-citizen. A judge sentenced her to eight years' imprisonment, after which she faces the possibility of deportation.
Prosecutors charged Graciela Sanchez with four misdemeanor counts of violating election law in an effort to assist Guadalupe Rivera win re-election to the post of Weslaco city commissioner in 2013. Rivera and Sanchez were found to have illegally "assisted" absentee ballot voters. The results of the election were disputed, and a judge determined that 30 ballots had been illegally cast in an election decided by only 16 votes. Sanchez pleaded guilty and received two years' probation.
Guadalupe Rivera, a former Weslaco city commissioner, pleaded guilty to one count of providing illegal "assistance" to a voter by filling out an absentee ballot "in a way other than the way the voter directed or without direction from the voter." The fraud took place during Rivera's 2013 re-election bid, which he won by a scant 16 votes. His challenger sued alleging fraud, and a judge determined that 30 ballots had been illegally cast, enough to alter the outcome of the election. A new election was subsequently held, and Rivera lost. Rivera originally faced 16 election-related charges, 15 of which were dropped as part of his plea deal. He was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay a $500 fine.
In the Donna School Board race, four campaign workers participated in a scheme that involved buying votes with cocaine, cash, beer, and cigarettes. All four pleaded guilty; Garcia received an 18-month sentence, and Castaneda received an eight-month sentence with credit for cooperating against her co-defendants.
Hazel Woodard, a Democratic Precinct Chairwoman candidate in Fort Worth, was concerned that her husband would not make it to the polls to vote, so she had her teenage son vote for him. The impersonation went undetected until the husband went to the polls later that day and tried to cast a second ballot in his name. Hazel was indicted for impersonation fraud at the polls, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to two years of deferred adjudication probation.
Richard Alan Collier pleaded guilty to attempting to vote twice in the November 2012 general election, in both Minnesota and Texas. He requested and submitted absentee ballots in both states. Galveston County officials were alerted to Collier's illegal behavior when they were tipped off about a Facebook post in which Collier admitted to double voting. Collier 's misdemeanor conviction earned him a $4,000 fine.
Former Dallas County Justice of the Peace, Carlos Medrano, was convicted on one count of illegal voting. A grand jury had indicted him for two counts of soliciting votes of non-resident family members in his election for justice of the peace. He was sentenced to serve 180 days in jail, five years on probation, and fined $2,500.
Two campaign workers pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Texas for paying voters to vote in two 2012 elections in Hidalgo County, Texas. In an elaborate vote-buying scheme, Belina Solis and Veronica Saldivar offered "baggies" of cocaine and money in exchange for votes for local and county candidates. After an extensive FBI investigation, they both pleaded guilty to one count of vote-buying.
Adrian Heath, Sybil Doyle, and Roberta Cook were convicted of voting on a referendum about whether the Woodlands Road Utility District could raise taxes to cover municipal debt, even though none of them were residents in the district. The election results were subsequently overturned. Heath was sentenced to a three-year prison sentence and a fine of $10,000; Cook and Doyle each received three-year prison sentences, five years' probation, and fines of $5,000.
Lorenzo Antonio Almanza, of Progreso, was convicted of voting twice in Progreso's 2009 school board election, once in his own name and once using his incarcerated brother's name. Almanza was sentenced to two years' imprisonment and five years of probation.
Fermina Castillo pleaded guilty to one count of illegal felon voting in the 2010 general election. She was sentenced to two years of deferred adjudication and community supervision and was ordered to pay a $100 fine.