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Texas Mayor Arrested for Election Fraud


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On Thursday, Edinburgh, TX, mayor Richard Molina (D), was charged with election fraud and illegal voting. Edinburgh is a town of 90,280 which lies on the border between Texas and Mexico.

Texas Attorney Ken Paxton said authorities charged Molina with attempting to rig his own mayoral election.. The crime is referred to as organized election fraud, a first-degree felony. Molina is also charged with two counts of illegal voting by “encouraging” voters to change their addresses to places they did not live, including an apartment complex he owns.

The charges carry a penalty of 5 to 99 years in prison.

“Voter fraud is an affront to democracy and places the decision-making authority of the Texas electorate in the hands of those who have no right to make those choices,” Paxton said in a news release. “Voter apathy is caused by rigged elections with guaranteed outcomes.”

Former JP conducted an independent investigation

The arrests stem from an independent investigation by former Justice of the Peace Mary Alice Palacios. Palacios suspected fraud by the number of change-of-address forms filed just before the election. She took her findings to the Texas Secretary of State’s Office on month after the November 2017.

In the election, Molina defeated the incumbent, Richard Garcia, with 54 percent of over 8,000 votes.

“The work required to prepare the information thus far is not with the singular intent to change the results of the election,” Palacios wrote to the Secretary of State’s Office. “Rather, it is intended to highlight a much greater problem that will inevitably affect all future elections in Hidalgo County.”

Molina denies any wrongdoing

Eighteen people have been arrested, according to the attorney general’s office. In addition, an alleged co-conspirator is fully cooperating with the investigation.

Both Molina and his attorney, Carlos Garcia, however, deny the allegations against his client.

“My client and his wife are victims of a power struggle,” Garcia told The Progressive Times on Thursday. “We intend to fight these charges, and both of them are absolutely innocent of what the state alleges.”

Officials declined to comment on whether the votes changed the election results.

 

Sarah Morton

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