Tarrant County Voter Fraud Conviction Upheld

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The Texas 2ndCourt of Appeals has upheld Rosa Maria Ortega’s voter fraud conviction. Ortega, a non-citizen, resident alien was originally convicted and sentenced to eight years in jail by a Tarrant County jury for voting illegally.

Direct Action Texas staff were present during the original trial and witnessed Ortega’s testimony and attempted defense. Her attorney attempted to sway the jury with claims that “She voted Republican! Like some of you might have” and that one vote couldn’t make a difference in an election. His arguments were weak, at best, and failed to refute the evidence presented.

The evidence showed she correctly reported that she was not a citizen on 3 separate DPS and driver’s license documents. It was only when she filled out her voter registration card that she “mistakenly” marked herself as a citizen. In fact, the whole reason she got caught was because she “mistakenly” told the truth and did not check the citizenship box on her voter registration card when she moved to Tarrant County. She had been voting for years in Dallas County and called Tarrant County Elections to complain when her registration card was rejected. Tarrant County Elections staff notified her that she was rejected for non-citizenship. Alert staffers later reported Ortega when she sent in another registration card with the citizenship box checked.

The worst damage to Ortega’s defense came from Ortega herself. Her demeanor and answers made her appear less sympathetic and more culpable. Our staff did not believe Ortega when she claimed she didn’t know she was not a citizen, and it is clear the jury of ten women and two men didn’t either.

The prosecution did not instruct the jury on an exact sentence. According to a press release from Attorney General Ken Paxton, they were given a range of “two to 20 years, or up to 10 years of probation. The court also read the standard jury instruction advising that early release through parole was available.” It was the jury of her peers that sentenced her to 8 years. In fact, the press release states that “the state of Texas offered her the minimum punishment available for the offense – two years community supervision, no prison and no special conditions. Instead, she voluntarily chose a jury trial.”

Perhaps she thought she could elicit sympathy from the jury. Most articles about the case use her four children in an attempt to excuse her behavior. They portray her as a helpless victim who was confused. The evidence showed this was not the case. Most Americans want to know that their vote wasn’t cancelled out by someone not legally allowed to vote.

“This case underscores the importance that Texans place on the institution of voting, and the hallowed principle that every citizen’s vote must count,” Attorney General Paxton said. “We will hold those accountable who falsely claim eligibility and purposely subvert the election process in Texas.”

It is true, we must hold people that vote illegally accountable, but it is far better to keep them from voting in the first place. We must mandate that the Secretary of State (SOS) check the citizenship status of voters through the DPS database. Non-citizens must be removed from the voter rolls. Right now, it is on the honor system. If you check the box for citizenship, you are accepted. There is no further investigation on whether or not you are telling the truth. This must change.

Governor Greg Abbott has the authority to mandate that the SOS verify citizenship for the voter rolls but has thus far failed to act. So, we must look to the Texas Legislature to fix the problem. The 86thLegislative Session begins in January. Please contact your state senators and representatives now and throughout the session. Let them know that verifying citizenship is crucial to the integrity of our elections and that you expect them to take action.


Read our original article on the case HERE.


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