Six more Hidalgo County voters were arrested today in connection with an illegal voting scheme in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley. A total of 11 people have now been charged in the ongoing investigation of voter fraud in the city of Edinburg’s November 2017 municipal election.

Texas Scorecard has been covering the investigation since complaints of suspected illegal voting became public in April. The alleged voter fraud scheme involved people who don’t reside within the city limits illegally registering to vote at an Edinburg address so they could cast ballots in the 2017 mayoral election. State law requires voters to register where they actually reside.

Texas Rangers picked up Araceli Gutierrez, Brenda Rodriguez, Belinda Rodriguez, Rosendo Rodriguez, Felisha Rodriguez, and Jerry Gonzalez Jr. on Thursday, according to local reports.

Gutierrez is accused of giving permission to the four Rodriguez family members, who live outside the city, to change their voter registration to an Edinburg address. Gonzalez is accused of illegally voting in Edinburg after changing his registration address from his home in Pharr.

It’s a Class B misdemeanor to knowingly make a false statement on a voter registration application, or to induce another person to do so. Illegal voting is a second-degree felony.

Five other suspects were arrested earlier this year by the Rangers, who are working with Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office to investigate the voter fraud allegations.

Crystal Lee Ponce, Veronica Vela Saenz, and Maria Aleman were charged with illegally voting in Edinburg in 2017 while not living in the city. Jose Francisco Tamez, Jr. was charged with two counts of illegal voting while an ineligible felon. Antonio Vela was accused of falsely claiming an Edinburg address on a voter registration application.

The investigation is ongoing.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.