Another voter fraud suspect arraigned in Edinburg

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Another person has been arraigned in the voter fraud investigation of the 2017 Edinburg municipal election, the McAllen Monitor reported.

On Monday, Francisco Tamez, Jr., 34, pleaded not guilty to two counts of illegal voting. He is accused of voting illegally in both the 2017 city election and the March 2018 Hidalgo County Democratic primary. 

Tamez is one of more than 20 people charged with illegal voting in the Edinburg election in which Richard Molina was elected mayor.  

Molina was arrested in April on charges that include organized election fraud and 11 counts of illegal voting, but he remains in his post. City secretary Ludivina Leal was arrested in August on an illegal voting charge. The Edinburg City Council, in a deadlocked 2-2 vote, failed to remove her last week.

Hidalgo County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon said last week that Leal wouldn’t be the point of contact for Edinburg during the city election this November, the Monitor reported. City Manager Juan Guerra told the newspaper the duties will be handled by the city attorney’s office to help “maintain the integrity of the election.”

Carlos Jasso, a candidate for Place 3 on the city council, sent a letter on Sept. 16 to Texas Secretary of State Ruth R. Hughes asking her to “assign staff to oversee every aspect of the City of Edinburg’s November 2019 election.”

He wants to make sure the election is “fair and transparent,” according to the letter.

Tamez could face up to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. His trial is expected to begin on Oct. 28, the Monitor reported.

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