President Donald Trump and other prominent Republicans have sounded the alarm throughout the pandemic that election fraud could be an increased threat this year because of a spike in mail-in ballots.
While Democrats have largely dismissed those concerns, the recent report of a Texas mayoral candidate’s arrest on suspicion of more than 100 voter fraud counts makes denial of the problem especially difficult, as reported by The Washington Times.
The development came to light on Thursday in reports out of the Dallas suburb of Carrollton.
According to court records, mayoral candidate Zul Mirza Mohamed faces 109 criminal counts, including 25 counts of unlawful possession of a ballot and 84 lesser counts of fraudulent use of a mail-in ballot application.
As the Dallas Morning News explained, Denton County Elections Office staff notified the sheriff’s office of potentially fraudulent activity after noticing a number of absentee ballot applications had been requested and delivered to a single post office box.
That destination was reportedly linked to a nursing home, prompting further investigation by local law enforcement.
Upon determining that none of the nursing home’s residents had requested a ballot, an undercover deputy staked out the post office branch and followed the suspect home after he was seen picking up the delivered applications.
A widespread issue
After obtaining a search warrant for his home, police reportedly found a fake driver’s license used to obtain the P.O. box along with dozens of opened ballot applications and ballots.
Each of the more than two dozen more serious second-degree felony charges could carry up to 20 years behind bars and $10,000 in fines upon conviction. The dozens of additional third-degree felonies are punishable by up to 10 years in jail and $10,000 in fines per count.
“Voter fraud is a serious and widespread issue and cannot be tolerated,” Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “The fact an actual candidate for public office would engage in these activities is appalling.”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office took part in the investigation, said the outcome had served the greater goal of “ensuring a free and fair Presidential election in the face of unprecedented voter fraud,” the Morning News noted.
He warned, however, that absentee ballots “are inherently insecure and vulnerable to fraud,” reiterating his office’s commitment to “safeguarding the integrity of our elections.”