Wednesday, September 11, 2019
A Texas mayor was arrested for voter fraud for allegedly attempting to rig his own election, state Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Thursday. Authorities charged Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina with organized election fraud, a first-degree felony, and two counts of illegal voting for allegedly making voters change their addresses to places they did not live, including an apartment complex he owned. Molina unseated the city's longtime mayor by about 1,200 votes in 2017. Located along the U.S.-Mexico border, Edinburg is home to headquarters for U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in the Rio Grande Valley. The city's population is about 90,000.
Eighteen people have been arrested for Molina's alleged scheme, according to the attorney general's office. The office declined to say whether the allegedly fraudulent votes changed the election results.
"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 statement released Thursday. "Voter apathy is caused by rigged elections with guaranteed outcomes."
Rumors circulated about voter fraud, The Progress Times reported, shortly after the November 2017 election. Molina ousted incumbent Richard Garcia with nearly 54 percent of about 8,400 ballots cast, according to Hidalgo County Elections Department records.
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