A Mexican woman living legally in the United States has been found guilty of voter fraud and sentenced to eight years in prison and fines of $10,000. Rosa Maria Ortega of Grand Prairie, Texas voted illegally five times in Dallas County, most recently in the republican primary in 2014.
Her lawyer claimed that she didn’t understand the difference between being a legal resident and being a citizen. That didn’t wash because months prior to registering in Dallas County, she had tried to register in Tarrant County but was refused because she admitted on the form she was not an American citizen but when she filed in Dallas County, she swore under oath that she was indeed a citizen.
Ortega was arrested and indicted on two counts of illegal voting in 2015 after police discovered she had applied for voter registration in Dallas County, Texas, and that she had falsely indicated on the application form she was a U.S. citizen. This, after a statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said Ortega applied for voter registration in nearby Tarrant County five months earlier, but was rejected because she marked that she was not a U.S. citizen, but a U.S. legal resident.
Ortega’s lawyer argued during her trial, however, that Ortega did not understand the difference between a “resident” and “citizen.”
KXAS-TV reported that Ortega never voted in Tarrant County. But according to Toni Pippins-Poole, Dallas County elections administrator, Ortega illegally voted at least five times in Dallas County. The most recent violation was during the Republican primary in May 2014, Pippins-Poole told KXAS-TV. The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported Ortega also voted in the 2012 general election.