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  • The RO Team

In the Crosshairs of Alleged Fraud: Texas Attorney General Raids Starr County Elections Department

Updated: Jul 1, 2023

The Texas Attorney General's Office has once again launched an investigation into allegations of voter fraud in South Texas. Project Red TX, an organization that supports Republican candidates for local and county-level political offices, recently announced that a search warrant was obtained by Attorney General Ken Paxton's office, leading to a raid of the Starr County Elections Department.

The investigation focuses on potential illegal voting and ballot harvesting activities that took place in the lead-up to the November 2022 election. During the raid, at least 180 rejected ballots were seized, along with the voter registration form of Modesto Vela, one of the individuals under scrutiny.

According to Project Red TX, Modesto Vela, who has connections to Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, allegedly assisted at least one voter in filling out a mail-in ballot unlawfully. It is claimed that Vela entered a voter's residence, completed the ballot, and left with possession of it. Project Red TX supports these allegations with photographic evidence showing Vela leaving the property and an audio recording in which Vela admits to having the ballot in their possession. The complaint further asserts that Vela indicated they worked for Starr County Judge Eloy Vera.

Mail-in voting in Texas is subject to strict regulations, limited to specific categories of individuals such as those aged 65 and above or voters who are outside the county during the election. Politiqueras, South Texas political operatives who are paid to "harvest" mail-in ballot votes for candidates, play a role in collecting ballot applications, assisting voters in filling them out, and returning the ballots.

Notably, Vela was associated with Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, a Democrat. Judge Vera acknowledged employing Vela in the past as a politiquera, but stressed that individuals from both major parties had hired her services.

Judge Vera criticized Project Red TX and the raid, perceiving them as politically motivated. He expressed his opinion to The Monitor, stating, "I think this is more political. And they try and do everything and they try to publicize it to make it seem like the Democratic Party here in the Valley is totally corrupted, but, in my opinion, it's not."

This investigation in Starr County is the latest in a series of voter fraud probes conducted in South Texas. Earlier this year, the Texas Attorney General's Office initiated an investigation into an alleged illegal voting incident during a Laredo City Council race. The slim margin of victory in that contest made it possible for illegal votes to have influenced the outcome. Any instances of suspected fraud can be reported by voters to the secretary of state, who will then refer them to the Office of the Attorney General for further investigation.


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