Ahead of the start of early voting, the Texas Attorney General’s office announced that four women in Tarrant County were indicted on 30 felony counts of voter fraud connected to activity in 2016.
Leticia Sanchez was indicted on one court of illegal voting, a second-degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison. She was also charged with providing false information on an application for mail-in ballots.
Also facing state jail felony charges for providing false information on mail-in ballot applications are Leticia Sanchez Tepichin, 10 counts; Maria Solis, two counts and Laura Parra, one count.
The women were part of an organized voter fraud ring and were paid to target elderly voters in some Northside Fort Worth precincts to generate mail-in ballots and then “harvest” the ballots to certain candidates, according to Paxton’s office.
“Ballots by mail are intended to make it easier for Texas seniors to vote,” Paxton said. “The unfortunate downside is their extreme vulnerability to fraud.”
The vote harvesting process involves generating a large number of mail-in ballots, interception of the ballots by harvesters and coaxing of victims to cast ballots according to harvesters’ wishes.
Other steps in the deception process include fraudulent mail-in ballot applications, and forged signatures. In most cases, voters are not aware their votes were stolen, officials said.
From 2005-2017, the attorney general’s office has prosecuted 97 people for voter fraud violations.
– Marice Richter