For a candidate or campaign worker looking to steal votes by illegally harvesting mail ballots, it pays to have someone on the inside – say, in the elections office or the post office. It also pays to be that someone on the inside.
In the south Texas county of Hidalgo, that someone was U.S. Postal Service employee Noe Abdon Olvera. He was paid well for selling mail ballot information to campaign workers – until he got caught.
Olvera and another postal worker were charged with selling lists of voters who received mail-in ballots to candidates running in the November 2014 election.
Olvera, who was arrested at the Postal Service facility in McAllen where he worked in October 2014, was subsequently charged with four counts of bribery of public officials in connection with an investigation into allegations that the mailman took $1,200 in bribes from campaign workers on two separate occasions in exchange for lists of postal customer names and addresses.
In March, Olvera pleaded guilty to one count of bribery of public officials. In exchange, the government dismissed the remaining three counts he was facing, court records show.
Olvera was busted with help from Yolanda Hidrogo, a politiquera who secretly recorded conversations with the postal worker and recounted in an affidavit her activities as a paid vote harvester.
The ballot harvesting schemes Hidrogo describes in the affidavit are common throughout Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and elsewhere in the state.
Olvera was sentenced to 18 months in prison.
Another Democrat elected official convicted of voter fraud gets a slap on the wrist:
After a jury found him guilty of felony voter fraud, a judge sentenced Eatonville, Florida’s former mayor on Friday to time served – 25 days – plus probation and community service.
Anthony Grant was indicted in March of last year along with two campaign workers on multiple mail ballot fraud charges, including forging signatures on ballots and coercing voters into submitting mail ballots for Grant in the 2015 mayoral election.
Following his indictment, the governor suspended Grant. Grant had formerly served as Eatonville’s mayor from 1994 to 2009 but lost to Bruce Mount, who he faced again in 2015.
Grant defeated Mount despite receiving fewer votes at the polls. Grant received 196 absentee votes to Mount’s 69, which swung the election in Grant’s favor.
Grant was convicted in May of two felonies and one misdemeanor.
“You’ve been found guilty of violating a core and fundamental right in our country to have free and fair elections,” Judge Keith Carsten told Grant before handing down the lenient sentence.
It’s hardly news that dead people are on the voter rolls in Dallas County, Texas – some for as long as 12 years after their death.
And it’s no surprise that those dead voters’ registrations are exploited by fraudsters. At least 17 applied for ballots in the names of deceased voters in the county’s May 6 elections, according to the elections department. Those applications have been turned over to the Dallas County District Attorney’s office and added to its ongoing criminal investigation of hundreds of mail ballots allegedly forged as part of a vote harvesting operation in that same election.
The buried lede here is that a Democrat legislator acknowledges voter fraud is real and happening:
“I believe there are ballots that probably get taken out of mailboxes before a senior even knows it’s arrived. I believe there are people who will go and take a senior’s ballot and help them fill it out and by helping them, I mean telling them what to do or unduly influencing them in how they vote. I believe there are people who will let them vote of their freewill, but if they don’t like the result, [they] will actually discard the ballot. I think all those things happen,” said state Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas.