A voter fraud investigation is underway in the Rio Grande Valley just weeks ahead of Texas’ primary elections.
Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar confirms that his office is investigating possibly fraudulent mail-in ballot applications submitted for the upcoming March 6 primaries.
Escobar says Starr County’s elections officials alerted the DA’s office to the suspicious applications, and his investigators found reason to believe people may have lied on those applications.
His staff is in contact with the Texas Attorney General’s office, Escobar says, to determine if the suspect applications run afoul of the state’s new mail-in ballot laws.
A bill passed last year to crack down on mail ballot voter fraud made it a state jail felony to provide false information on an application or submit an application without a voter’s permission.
“Our legislature has given us a very clear mandate to begin and try to prevent voter fraud,” Escobar said.
Escobar also acknowledged that his investigation has uncovered non-citizens on the county’s voter registration rolls.
Starr County’s faulty voter rolls are already the focus of a federal lawsuit.
The American Civil Rights Union sued the county elections administrator in 2016 for failing to maintain accurate voter lists as required by the National Voter Registration Act. According to the Public Interest Legal Foundation, which is representing the ACRU in the case, Starr County voter rolls “contain more voters registered to vote than there are citizens eligible to vote residing in the county.”
It’s not yet clear if the questionable ballot applications are tied to the county’s dirty voter rolls.
Escobar said he anticipates other agencies will join the voter fraud investigation.

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.