Man Caught Voting Twice in Starr County

Posted: Jun 5, 2012 6:09 PM
Updated: Jun 5, 2012 6:17 PM

STARR COUNTY - The Starr County district attorney is deciding if he'll prosecute a man accused of election fraud. The man was caught voting twice in the early voting period last month.

A manual count of the votes uncovered the illegal vote. More than 12,000 people voted in Starr County for the primary elections. Election officials checked and rechecked every name on every ballot.

Starr County Elections Administrator Rafael Montalvo tells us, "That's how we caught that one gentleman... We said, 'Hey, look he's on this one. And we said, 'Well, he's on this one.'"

Montalvo says it took years to get voting fraud under control in Starr County. Five people were indicted in 2007 for voting multiple times and running an illegal mail-in ballot scheme.

Montalvo says his department doesn't have a lot of money or technology to fix the problem. That's why they count the vote manually.

He warned all voters that even trying to vote twice is a misdemeanor crime. It's a felony if you actually cast a ballot.

"Nobody else voted twice," he says.

His staff did throw out more than 130 mail-in votes because of wrong information. Montalvo says rejected ballots don't mean someone is breaking the law. He tells us most are likely innocent mistakes.

The elections administrator says a manual count of votes is impossible for bigger counties. For example, more than 30,000 people voted early in Hidalgo County. That's more than the number of registered voters in Starr County.

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