A Mexican national impersonated a U.S. citizen and voted three times in Texas elections, according to a criminal indictment handed down last week. The case adds more fuel to concerns about noncitizens on American voting rolls.
Laura Janeth Garza is charged with voter impersonation and ineligible voting, both second-degree felonies. If convicted, she faces two to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
A joint investigation by Texas Attorney General Paxton’s office and the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) determined that Garza obtained documents to steal the identity of a U.S. citizen and illegally register to vote in Harris County. She cast ballots there in 2004, 2012 and the 2016 presidential election.
Garza’s case came to light when a citizen attempted to obtain a U.S. passport, only to discover that Garza had already done so using the woman’s identity. The U.S. State Department referred Garza’s case to the Criminal Investigations Division of DPS, which ultimately handed it over to Paxton’s office for an election fraud investigation.
The Garza affair gives more ammunition to an ongoing legal tussle over voter-registration records in Harris County (Houston).
“A Mexican national stands accused of impersonating a U.S. citizen and voting three times—largely thanks to a broken honor system which local officials do not feel compelled to answer for,” said J. Christian Adams, president and general counsel at the Public Interest Legal Foundation.
PILF has a pending federal lawsuit seeking Harris County voter-registration records of individuals who have been found to be noncitizens. Last week, PILF countered Harris County’s claim in a state court that the group had no right to the data. PILF is seeking access to voter-registration records before the 2018 midterm elections.
Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 allows individuals to request inspection or seek copies of “records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring accuracy and