Texas border mayor charged with trying to rig own election


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas mayor on the U.S.-Mexico border was charged Thursday with trying to cheat his way into office through an illegal voting scheme in a region long plagued by public corruption scandals.

The arrest of Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina also comes at a time of heightened tension over voting in Texas, where Republicans in the coming weeks want to toughen penalties for election crimes over opposition from Democrats. Meanwhile, a bungled search in January for non-citizens on Texas’ voter rolls set off lawsuits and questions from Congress .

Edinburg is a city of about 90,000 people and is headquarters for U.S. Customs and Border Protection operations in the Rio Grande Valley. Molina unseated the city’s longtime mayor by about 1,200 votes in 2017, and prosecutors say Molina tried to tip the scales by having voters change their addresses to places they didn’t live, including an apartment complex he owned.

Molina was charged with engaging in organized election fraud, a first-degree felony, and two counts of illegal voting. He surrendered to authorities Thursday along with his wife, Dalia Molina, who was charged with one count of illegal voting.

City spokeswoman Cary Zayas told reporters outside the courthouse in Edinburg that the mayor “very adamantly” denies wrongdoing.

Schiff Busted After Appearing as Likely Candidate to Replace Feinstein: Is His Past Catching Up to Him?

“Voter fraud is an affront to democracy and places the decision-making authority of the Texas electorate in the hands of those who have no right to make those choices,” Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement. “Voter apathy is caused by rigged elections with guaranteed outcomes.”

Paxton’s office, which investigated the case, declined to say whether the number of allegedly fraudulent votes affected the election’s outcome. Municipal elections in Texas are nonpartisan, and Zayas said she does not know whether Molina has a party affiliation.

Eighteen people have been arrested in connection with the alleged scheme. South Texas has long carried a reputation as a hotbed of bad-behaving officials at all levels of government, and in 2013, the Justice Department reported there were more public corruption convictions in the state’s southern district than anywhere in the U.S.

The charges against Molina mark a high-profile arrest for Paxton, who has made prosecuting illegal voting cases a priority and has touted tough prison sentences handed down in election fraud cases. His office prosecuted nearly three dozen people in 2018 for election fraud violations and asked lawmakers this year for more funding and staff.

A federal judge in February said there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Texas after the state wrongly questioned the U.S. citizenship of thousands of voters.

Republicans are also trying to get a bill on Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk before the end of May that would, among other things, make it a felony to put false information on a voter registration form. Democrats say the bill could punish people for making honest mistakes.


Bleiberg reported from Dallas.


Mother Has Message for Soros-Funded DA Going Easy on Her Son's Alleged Killer

Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter:

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
New York City