A South Texas mayor charged with organizing an illegal voting scheme in the election that put him into office two and a half years ago had his trial delayed again, this time due to the Chinese coronavirus.
Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina was scheduled to go on trial June 1 on multiple counts of felony voter fraud.
His trial, previously set for March and then delayed until June at Molina’s request, was postponed again this week when all jury trials in June were canceled by the Hidalgo County Board of Judges.
Molina was elected mayor of Edinburg in November 2017. Texas Rangers made the first arrests for illegal voting in his election in the summer of 2018.
By November 2018, 15 people had been charged in what had emerged as an organized scheme to recruit voters from outside the city to submit fraudulent registrations using Edinburg addresses so they could illegally vote in the city’s mayoral election.
Documents from Hidalgo County’s elections office showed Molina had personally helped voters change their registration addresses so they could vote in Edinburg—some to the address of an apartment complex he owned there.
Molina claimed the investigation was politically motivated and accused his opponent of committing the same type of voter fraud he was eventually charged with.
Molina and his wife were arrested in April 2019 and charged in June with multiple felony counts of organized election fraud and illegal voting.
More than 20 people have been accused of participating in the scheme.
State election law requires Texans to register and vote where they reside. As an elected official and a deputy voter registrar, then-councilman Molina would have been expected to know the rules.
Mayor Molina maintains he is innocent. Nearly a year after his voter fraud indictments, he is still awaiting trial and making decisions that impact the lives of Edinburg residents.