A Texas woman pleaded guilty June 8 to 26 counts of voter fraud in a deal that kept her out of prison.
District Judge Eli Garza sentenced Monica Renee Mendez, 37, to five years probation and 80 hours of community service. Mendez will also have to pay court costs and fines totaling $1,415, according to the report in the Victoria Advocate.
Victoria County Elections Administrator Margetta Hill said last year that Mendez worked as a volunteer deputy registrar during the 2018 Bloomington, Texas, water board election. The role Mendez held involves helping residents register to vote. The elections administrator added her registrar certification was not renewed after the state attorney general’s office notified local officials they were investigating Mendez for her conduct during the water board election.
“Once we get wind of something that’s not right, we have the right to revoke her certificate,” Hill said in 2021. “We didn’t renew it.
Suspicions were raised about the water board election when more than 10 percent of the town’s 2,500 voters registered using the same mailing address. Investigators determined the address was a post office box rented by ALMS, a local housing nonprofit accused of unfairly trying to win votes during that election.
ALMS is an acronym for La Raza Unidos, a nonprofit begun in 2006 to provide free housing, shelter and food to people in need, according to tax documents.
A 2015 Bloomington water district study determined customers should be placed into commercial or residential accounts, according to the Victoria Advocate report. The report added the study suggested customers should be charged based on their impact to the district’s water infrastructure.
The housing nonprofit was billed as a commercial customer because they rented apartments to tenants so, when the new rates were implemented, ALMS bills increased substantially.
“Mendez ran a vote-harvesting operation on behalf of a subsidized housing corporation in order to influence the outcome of a utility board election,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.
Mendez pleaded guilty to three counts of illegal voting, eight counts of election fraud, seven counts of assisting a voter to submit a ballot by mail and eight counts of unlawful possession of a mail ballot.
South Texas may see some of the most competitive congressional elections in the nation during November’s midterm election, according to the Western Journal report.
A Republican candidate flipped a previously blue seat in a special election earlier this month when Mayra Flores recorded her upset victory in the state’s 34th congressional district earlier this week.
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