Paxton has emphasized prosecuting election fraud in a political climate in which President Donald Trump has made unsubstantiated claims about noncitizens voting, and as the Hispanic electorate is growing. Despite Paxton’s intense focus on this issue, his office does not appear to have secured convictions proving widespread election fraud since increasing attention to the issue in 2018 — but he has continued to aggressively pursue prosecutions.
Paxton’s office had 75 active election fraud investigations and 15 cases pending as of last month.
“The sheer number of prosecutions brought by our office, and convictions secured by our office, should be enough to confirm that Texans are being deprived of their legal voice by the casting of illegal ballots,” Paxton’s office wrote in a letter to House Democrats last month.
Paxton touts that his office prosecuted 33 defendants in 2018, a statistic The New York Times has repeated twice. In reality, 30 of those cases resulted in prosecution diversion programs — a clear sign they were relatively minor cases, HuffPost previously reported. Of the three cases with the most serious punishments on Paxton’s 2018 list, one involved a Mexican woman who was sentenced to jail for stealing the identity of a U.S. citizen and voting illegally. She was slated for deportation. An attorney who represented her did not respond to HuffPost’s multiple requests for comment. There was no available transcript for her case, according to a county clerk.
The other two cases are those of Gonzalez and Flores. They committed election crimes involving mail-in ballots, something Texas tightly regulates.