Politics

Texas Attorney General Targets Woman In Illegal Voting Case

The Attorney General said he wants to protect the integrity of elections but the case could have political implications as well

In this July 29, 2015, file photo, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Attorney General Ken Paxton said his office will prosecute a Mexican national who’s accused of voter fraud in Harris County after stealing the identity of a U.S. citizen.

According to a statement, Laura Janeth Garza was indicted by a Montgomery County grand jury on two counts of election fraud related to the 2016 presidential election in Harris County. The charge is a second-degree felony that carry up to 20 years in prison.

Garza was charged after a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Investigators said Garza obtained documents to steal the identity of a U.S. citizen and illegally registered to vote in Harris County, casting ballots in 2004, 2012, and 2016. They said they learned about the case after a woman tried to get a passport and found that Garza had already done so using her identity.

“This case demonstrates my office’s commitment to protecting the integrity of elections. We will continue to do everything in our power to safeguard the electoral process in Texas,” said Paxton in his statement.  

University of Houston Political Science Professor Brandon Rottinghaus said illegal voting is something that doesn’t happen a lot in Texas. But for Paxton the political implications are huge.

“This reason this is such a big issue for Republicans is that it combines both illegal immigration and voting rights,” added Rottinghaus. “These are both red-meat issues and any Republican who looks like they’re on the ball on this can make some major movement in terms of the electorate.”

“The goal for Republicans is not so much as to necessarily convince people broadly that this is a major issue but rather speak more narrowly to Republicans who look at this issue as being a major problem in Texas,” continued Rottinghaus.

Last month, a Tarrant County woman was sentenced to five years in prison for voting illegally in the 2016 election. She wasn’t eligible to vote in the election because she was on probation for a prior conviction.

Share

Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

From early-morning interviews with commuters to walks through muddy construction sites, Gail covers all aspects of getting around Houston. That includes walking, driving, cycling, taking the bus, and occasionally flying. Before she became transportation reporter in 2011, Gail hosted weekend programs for Houston Public Media. She's also covered courts in...

More Information