Election Fraud Cases
Monica Mendez was charged with 26 felonies after her involvement in an absentee ballot trafficking scheme to alter the results of the May 2018 Bloomington water board election. Mendez served as a volunteer deputy registrar and was responsible for registering new voters in her official role. During this election, 275 people in Bloomington registered to vote all using the same post office box as a mailing address. However, the address was associated with a subsidized housing company who was attempting the sway the outcome of the election. According to the press release by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton "Mendez ran a vote-harvesting operation on behalf of a subsidized housing corporation in order to influence the outcome of a utility board election." Mendez Mendez pleaded guilty to 26 felony counts including three counts of illegal voting, eight counts of election fraud, seven counts of unlawful assistance to a voter to submit a ballot by mail, and eight counts of unlawful possession of a mail ballot. She was sentenced to five years of deferred adjudication probation, 80 hours of community service, and fined $1,415.
Source: https://herit.ag/3OMoYQ8 , https://herit.ag/3bxUROc, https://herit.ag/3OHfLsv
Marlena Jackson, wife of Gregg County Commissioner Shannon Brown, pleaded guilty to charges of misdemeanor election fraud. During the 2018 Democratic primary Longview City council election, Jackson's husband Shannon Brown organized a scheme to harvest absentee ballots with help from two paid campaign workers and Jackson to increase the ballots in Brown's favor. Jackson working with Brown and his crew, solicited over a hundred mail-in ballots by assisting with absentee ballot applications, misleading voters about the requirements for voting by mail, and in some cases filling out the applications and falsely claiming that such voters were disabled, often without their knowledge or consent. Marlena was originally charged with close to 100 different felony charges including providing false information on a voting application, election fraud, and tampering with a government record with the intent to defraud or harm. Jackson was sentenced to a year's probation and a $2,445 fine.
Source: https://herit.ag/33qzzOJ, https://herit.ag/3oSoH3O , https://herit.ag/3rRxrc7, https://herit.ag/3GVHG3E
Charlie Burns Jr., campaign worker for Gregg County Commissioner Shannon Brown, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of knowingly possessing an absentee ballot with intent to defraud for his involvement in a ballot harvesting scheme. During the 2018 Democratic primary Longview City council election, Shannon Brown participated in a scheme to harvest absentee ballots with help from his wife Marlena Jackson, Burns, and DeWayne Ward, another paid campaign worker, to increase the vote total for Brown. Burns working with Brown, Jackson, and another campaign worker, solicited over a hundred mail-in ballots by assisting with absentee ballot applications, providing incorrect information to voters about the requirements for voting by mail, and in some cases filing out the ballots and falsely claiming that such voters were disabled, often without their knowledge or consent. Burns was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended to a year's probation, and fined $445.
Source: https://herit.ag/3gSxiyS , https://herit.ag/3oSxz9F, https://herit.ag/3rUront, https://herit.ag/3GNZihK
DeWayne Ward, campaign worker for Gregg County Commissioner Shannon Brown, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of knowingly possessing an absentee ballot with intent to defraud for his involvement in a ballot harvesting scheme during the 2018 Longview City Council Democratic primary election. During that election, Shannon Brown organized a scheme to harvest absentee ballots with help from his wife, Marlena Jackson, Ward, and Charlie Burns Jr. another paid campaign worker, to increase the vote tally in Brown's favor. Ward, working with Brown, Jackson, and another campaign worker, solicited over a hundred mail-in ballots by assisting with absentee ballot applications, misleading voters about the requirements for voting by mail, and in some cases filling out the applications and falsely claiming that such voters were disabled, often without their knowledge or consent. Ward was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended to a year's probation, and fined $445.
Source: https://herit.ag/3HXp7gz, https://herit.ag/3LBeQZV , https://herit.ag/3sMrGf3, https://herit.ag/3uSSbSK
Shannon Brown, Commissioner of Gregg County, Texas pleaded guilty to charges of misdemeanor election fraud and record tampering. During the 2018 Democratic primary Longview City Council election, Brown organized a scheme to harvest absentee ballots with help from two paid campaign workers and his wife to increase the votes in his favor. Brown, along with his crew, solicited over a hundred mail-in ballots by assisting with absentee ballot applications, misleading voters about the requirements for voting by mail, and in some cases filling out the applications and falsely claiming that such voters were disabled, often without their knowledge or consent. Brown was originally charged with over 20 felony charges related to providing false information on voting applications. As part of his plea deal, Brown was sentenced to one year in jail which was suspended to a year's probation and fined $2,445. Brown was allowed to stay in office.
Source: https://herit.ag/3uVtk0S, https://herit.ag/3JBDN5J, https://herit.ag/3Bo6xf6 , https://herit.ag/3gMJvFv
Charles Nathan Jackson, of Tarrant County, forged the name of a stranger, Mardene Hickerson, on an application for an early voting ballot. Jackson pleaded guilty to providing false information on a voting application, a felony, as part of a plea deal to avoid an enhancement for previous drug and theft offenses. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail, and was given credit for time already served.
Cynthia Gonzalez, of Nueces County, marked and mailed ballots that were not her own in the 2016 Nueces County Democratic Primary. Gonzalez pleaded guilty to three charges of election code violations and was sentenced to serve five days in the San Patricio County Jail.
Source: https://herit.ag/3rCeZ5C, https://herit.ag/3y4jpVk, https://herit.ag/3zKbEUP
In a Republican primary for a seat on the Kaufman County Court, Dennis Jones appeared to beat his challenger Tracy Gray by one vote. Gray challenged the results, claiming that a "vote harvester" had submitted a number of illegal mail-in ballots and that numerous eligible provisional ballots were uncounted. A district judge agreed, invalidating the election results and ordering a new election. The special election was held on July 21 and Tracy Gray prevailed, winning by 404 votes.
Source: https://herit.ag/378DJJa, https://herit.ag/3f3wjeH
Laura Janeth Garza, a Mexican citizen, pleaded guilty to two felony charges of voter impersonation and ineligible voting. Garza stole the identity of her cousin, a US citizen, in order to remain in the United States, and used it to register and vote in multiple elections, including the 2016 presidential election. Garza received a probated 10-year prison sentence, 180 days in jail, and was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine. After her jail term is completed, Garza will be deported.
Source: https://herit.ag/3i8MWYq, https://herit.ag/3l328rO
Mario Obdulio Orellana, a 57-year-old Salvadoran national, was indicted in June 2018 by the Department of Justice on federal immigration and voter fraud violations. An investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office in the Eastern District of Texas revealed that Orellana illegally entered the United States in the 1980s, falsified documents to obtain a U.S. birth certificate and social security number, and then used these documents to apply for a U.S. passport and register to vote. His five-count indictment included voter fraud charges related to his voting in the November 2016 election. As part of a plea agreement, Orellana pleaded guilty to making false statements in a U.S. passport application in exchange for the other charges being dropped. He faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
Source: https://herit.ag/2TEI8AL, https://herit.ag/3BWg0KP, https://herit.ag/3iV3n9P
Armando O'Cana won a run-off mayoral election in Mission, Texas, unseating longtime holder Norberto 'Beto' Salinas. Salinas contested the results of the election, after strong evidence emerged that O'Cana's campaign was bribing voters, tampering with mail-in ballots, and improperly assisting voters at the polls. After a two week trial during which numerous witnesses testified, Judge J. Bonner Dorsey voided the election stating, 'I hold or find, by clear and convincing evidence, that the number of illegal votes was in excess of 158.' Attorneys for O'Cana are currently appealing the ruling in the 13th Texas Court of Appeals.
Source: https://herit.ag/3BEYlH8, https://herit.ag/3i88t3v, https://herit.ag/3iWOsfg
Miguel Hernandez visited an elderly woman shortly before the 2017 Dallas City Council election, collected her blank absentee ballot, filled it out, and forged her signature before mailing it back. Hernandez was the first person arrested as part of a larger voter fraud investigation in the Dallas area, stemming from claims by elderly voters that someone was forging their signatures and the return of nearly 700 mail-in ballots all signed by the same witness using a fake name. Hernandez faced a felony illegal voting charge, but pleaded to a lesser misdemeanor offense of "method of returning marked ballot." He was sentenced to 180 days in jail and given credit for time served.
Source: https://herit.ag/370axUW, https://herit.ag/3f1ZChS
Russ Casey, a Texas Justice of the Peace, submitted false signatures in order to ensure his place on the Republican primary ballot during his 2018 reelection campaign. Casey withdrew and resigned following the revelation that he had falsified multiple petition signatures and falsely attested to having witnessed the signatures. Casey pleaded guilty to a charge of tampering with a government record, and received a suspended two-year prison sentence and five years of probation.
Rosita Flores, of Robstown, illegally obtained an elderly voter's mail-ballot, filled it out, and cast the ballot without the permission of the voter. Flores pleaded guilty and received a suspended one-year jail sentence, 18 months of probation, and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and $316 in court costs. She was also ordered to complete 60 hours of community service and spend 10 consecutive Saturdays in the San Patricio County Jail.
A closely contested run-off election for a Justice of Peace seat was overturned by Visiting District Court Judge Joel Johnson, following a two-day hearing. A challenge to the election was filed by Ofelia "Ofie" Gutierrez, the candidate running against long time seatholder, Esequiel "Cheque" De La Paz, for the Justice of the Peace seat in Kleberg County. After a recount narrowed the vote differential to just six votes (312 to 318), seven of the sixteen votes contested by Guiterrez were thrown out by Judge Johnson, because they were cast by relatives of De La Paz who lived outside the Precinct 4 boundaries. A new election was ordered to be held before the end of August.
Source: https://herit.ag/3iTTEkf, https://herit.ag/3BQhSVo
Key & Definitions
Types of Cases
Any case that results in a defendant entering a plea of guilty or no contest, or being found guilty in court of election-related offenses.
A finding by a court of law that fraud occurred in an election, including judicial orders overturning election results or ordering a new election due to fraud.
Any civil case resulting in fines or other penalties imposed for a violation of election laws.
A finding by a government body that fraud occurred in an election, including orders overturning election results or ordering a new election due to fraud.
Any criminal case in which a judge directs a defendant into a pre-trial diversion program, or stays or defers adjudication with the understanding that the conviction will be cleared upon completion of the program.
Types of Voter Fraud
Requesting absentee ballots and voting without the knowledge of the actual voter; or obtaining the absentee ballot from a voter and either filling it in directly and forging the voter’s signature or illegally telling the voter who to vote for.
Illegal registration and voting by individuals who are not U.S. citizens, are convicted felons, or are otherwise not eligible to vote.
Voting in the name of other legitimate voters and voters who have died, moved away, or lost their right to vote because they are felons, but remain registered.
Paying voters to cast either an in-person or absentee ballot for a particular candidate.
Forging the signatures of registered voters on the ballot petitions that must be filed with election officials in some states for a candidate or issue to be listed on the official ballot
Registering in multiple locations and voting in the same election in more than one jurisdiction or state.
Voting under fraudulent voter registrations that either use a phony name and a real or fake address or claim residence in a particular jurisdiction where the registered voter does not actually live and is not entitled to vote.
Changing the actual vote count either in a precinct or at the central location where votes are counted.
Forcing or intimidating voters—particularly the elderly, disabled, illiterate, and those for whom English is a second language—to vote for particular candidates while supposedly providing them with “assistance.”