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Sun Mar 19, 2017, 05:48 AM

A Texas Woman Voted Like a U.S. Citizen. Only She Wasnt

Source: New York Times

When Rosa Maria Ortega was a teenager, her mother was deported to her native Mexico after being arrested twice.
As she grew up, Ms. Ortega decided to take a different route. Lacking a high school diploma, she signed up for the Job Corps at age 18 and snagged a position at a state employment office.

In 2012, she registered to vote, and not only cast ballots in the next two elections but served as a poll worker. Divorced, she raised four children, now teenagers, sometimes working three jobs.
“When my mom was here, she did everything illegal,” Ms. Ortega, 37, said in an interview. “I wasn’t going to let that happen to me.”

Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who brought the fraud charges, has applauded Ms. Ortega’s sentence, saying that it “shows how serious Texas is about keeping its elections secure.” Ms. Ortega said she had voted for Mr. Paxton as well as Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama’s Republican rival in 2012, after being persuaded by the conservative father of her fiancé, Oscar Sherman.

She may not have a choice. Ms. Ortega, of Grand Prairie, Tex., a suburb between Dallas and Fort Worth, is a permanent resident with a green card, but she is not an American citizen. In a case that made national headlines last month, she was found guilty, fined $5,000 and sentenced to eight years in prison because the ballots she cast in 2012 and 2014 were illegal. While green-card holders have many of the rights of citizens, they cannot vote.
If the verdict is upheld, she will serve her sentence and, in all likelihood, be deported to Mexico. For green-card holders, a criminal conviction is effectively a ticket for deportation.




Read more: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-texas-woman-%e2%80%98voted-like-a-us-citizen%e2%80%99-only-she-wasn%e2%80%99t/ar-BBylpiO



sentenced to eight years in prison because the ballots she cast in 2012 and 2014 were illegal.

45 replies, 4580 views

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Reply A Texas Woman Voted Like a U.S. Citizen. Only She Wasnt (Original post)
Sunlei Mar 19 OP
TexasTowelie Mar 19 #1
Sunlei Mar 19 #2
Rhiannon12866 Mar 19 #4
progree Mar 19 #13
Sunlei Mar 19 #14
barbtries Mar 19 #3
global1 Mar 19 #5
SunSeeker Mar 19 #7
progree Mar 19 #12
Sunlei Mar 19 #15
LisaL Mar 19 #16
Sunlei Mar 19 #19
LisaL Mar 19 #20
Sunlei Mar 19 #22
LisaL Mar 19 #23
LisaL Mar 19 #17
citood Mar 19 #26
Igel Mar 19 #43
LisaL Mar 19 #44
waltben Mar 19 #6
Turbineguy Mar 19 #8
moonscape Mar 19 #40
LisaL Mar 19 #41
Fast Walker 52 Mar 19 #9
Renew Deal Mar 19 #10
logosoco Mar 19 #11
LisaL Mar 19 #18
Sunlei Mar 19 #21
LisaL Mar 19 #24
paleotn Mar 19 #25
unblock Mar 19 #27
LisaL Mar 19 #28
unblock Mar 19 #30
LisaL Mar 19 #32
unblock Mar 19 #34
Yo_Mama Mar 19 #29
unblock Mar 19 #31
LisaL Mar 19 #33
Yo_Mama Mar 19 #37
pat_k Mar 19 #35
unblock Mar 19 #38
christx30 Mar 19 #39
unblock Mar 19 #42
roamer65 Mar 19 #36
YOHABLO Mar 19 #45

Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 05:54 AM

1. This is a news story from early February so it isn't LBN.

At least one story on this topic was locked in LBN.
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10141709019

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Response to TexasTowelie (Reply #1)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 06:01 AM

2. oh thanks, it is on dated today and credited to NYT. I feel bad for her, unfair harsh 8 year Felony.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 06:41 AM

4. Good grief!

Rather than penalizing her, they should realize what this country means to her and expedite her becoming a citizen! It's the right thing to do...

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #2)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 09:43 AM

13. The linked article contains an update - so it should survive the LBN authorities

The judge can reduce Ms. Ortega’s eight-year sentence to probation, a decision that would give federal immigration officials legal discretion to rescind her deportation, assuming no other problems crop up.

But that option may be closing. On Friday, the Tarrant County criminal district attorney, Sharen Wilson, a Republican who has worked with Mr. Paxton’s office on Ms. Ortega’s prosecution, notified defense lawyers of a meeting on the misdemeanor charge of falsely filing a registration application. A decision to prosecute her on that charge could complicate any effort to avoid her deportation, another of Ms. Ortega’s lawyers, Clark Birdsall, said.

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Response to progree (Reply #13)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 12:28 PM

14. Thank you. Looks like Lawyers try hard to save this woman from 8 years in prison & deportation.

They sent her kids to an ex-husband who doesn't even want the children!

Deplorable how severe the punishment, how heartless Republicans are to make an example of her.

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Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 06:29 AM

3. for perspective,

the woman who killed my daughter got 4 years. hard to call this justice.

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Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 07:02 AM

5. How Was She Not Found Out And Stopped When...

she registered to vote. Shouldn't she have been stopped then before she voted? Who let her get registered? Shouldn't that person be in trouble?

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Response to global1 (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 07:53 AM

7. Good question. I'm betting it had something to do with her registering as a Republican.

Texas only looks askance at Democratic voters.

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Response to global1 (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 09:27 AM

12. From the article --

The outlines of Ms. Ortega’s offense are mostly undisputed. While living in neighboring Dallas County, she registered to vote before the 2012 election, checking a box on the registration form that certified that she was a United States citizen. After voting in 2012 and 2014, she moved to Fort Worth’s Tarrant County in 2015, where she registered to vote again — this time, ticking the box that indicated she was not a citizen.

When her registration was rejected, she called elections officials, telling them that she had voted in Dallas. Told that people who checked the noncitizen box were ineligible to vote, she reapplied, this time indicating that she was a citizen. An elections worker who remembered her earlier comment about voting in Dallas became suspicious, and forwarded the application to the authorities.

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Response to progree (Reply #12)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 12:30 PM

15. Thanks, I think she honestly didn't understand about who can vote. (only passed 7th grade)

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #15)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 12:32 PM

16. Did you read what it actually said?

She was told non-citizens can't vote. She then re-applied claiming to be a citizen. Seems clear to me.

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Response to LisaL (Reply #16)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 12:44 PM

19. meant over her lifetime in America as a hard working mother,/w green card she probably felt American

4 American kids, came here as a kid herself.

The law is bad, and Republicans attacking green card holders like this poor woman is heartless and cruel.

Fuck those Republican Nazis!!

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #19)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 12:44 PM

20. She voted for Republicans.

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Response to LisaL (Reply #20)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 01:03 PM

22. I don't care who she voted for.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #22)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 01:04 PM

23. You don't but I do.

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Response to global1 (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 12:36 PM

17. She checked the box saying she was the citizen.

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Response to global1 (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 02:43 PM

26. In most states, citizenship is not checked at registration

This is being fought over in KS right now...and will certainly be used by Kobach as an example that supports his cause.

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Response to global1 (Reply #5)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 05:20 PM

43. How would they?

The only way they'd know she was a green-card holder was if they ran her name/address against the ICE database if they'd asked to see her birth-certificate-based ID.

The first is illegal, the second wasn't in place at the time and generally considered semi-fascist. That leaves checking against the DMV database, something many DUers rail against (and which, in any event, is a flawed process because of reasonable differences in how names and addresses are encoded).

I'm assuming she just filled out the voter registration card and turned it in.

Now, Texas has motor-voter. When I got my license in Texas the guy ahead of me was Latino and opted to speak Spanish with the Latino DMV clerk. When he got his license, she asked if he wanted to register to vote and as he walked he laughed and said he wasn't in the country legally. She responded that didn't matter, who'd know? So that's another way she could have gotten registered without anybody actually confirming her status.

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Response to Igel (Reply #43)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 05:37 PM

44. Per the article, when she first registered, she checked the box claiming she was a citizen.

She then voted in several elections, moved and tried to register again. This time she checked that she wasn't a citizen.

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Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 07:12 AM

6. OK, so this is ONE instance - how many GOPers have done voter fraud in the same time frame? 6+?

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Response to waltben (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 08:02 AM

8. And then there's still the 3 million illegal voters

in California. Well, fantasy voters anyway.

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Response to waltben (Reply #6)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 04:50 PM

40. Yeah but swell. The Repubs will trot this out, claiming they want

to stop all undocumented from voting, regardless who they are voting for, in their continuing justification for voter suppression laws.

I hate them.

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Response to moonscape (Reply #40)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 04:54 PM

41. No doubt of that.

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Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 08:30 AM

9. she also voted Republican... of course

 

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Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 08:48 AM

10. People seem to get a lot less time for more serious crimes than voting

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Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 09:15 AM

11. And look at all the people who just don't even bother to vote!

This woman gets how important it is.

But this sentence is insane!

Also, shouldn't we be hearing MORE stories like this, considering the "2-3 MILLION" folks who voted illegally for Hillary!!

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Response to logosoco (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 12:37 PM

18. Per the article, she was voting for Republicans.

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Response to LisaL (Reply #18)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 01:02 PM

21. Attorney General Ken Paxton(R) '"only gave her 8 years" because she voted for him.

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Response to Sunlei (Reply #21)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 01:04 PM

24. Elections have consequences.

In her case it seems particularly ironic that the guy she (illegally) voted for wants to put her in prison for 8 years for (illegally) voting.

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Response to logosoco (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 02:25 PM

25. They actually voted illegally for

Romeny and shit stain, if this anecdotal story translates to the rest of the mythical mass of illegal voters. Thus, Obama and Clinton actually won by a larger margins, counting only legitimate votes.

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Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:23 PM

27. Seems like criminalizing victims of bureaucratic incompetence

There's no need or point in making voters criminal liable for knowing if they're eligible to vote or even if they're citizens. This are things that can and should be determined by appropriately trained bureaucrats who are trained to know details like residency requirements, id requirements, disenfranchisement laws, etc.

In this case the voter is not clean in that she lied about being a citizen but ffs, just make people produce documentation and reject them if they can't.

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Response to unblock (Reply #27)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:29 PM

28. So your brilliant suggestion is making voter registration more difficult.

I registered by mailing in my form. Whom exactly am I supposed to produce documentation too? And what documentation? You do realize this would be even more difficult than voter ID laws where you are just suppose to show an ID at the poll? Some people don't have IDs, what proof do you think they have they are citizens?
I am sure that's what republicans would want, though.

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Response to LisaL (Reply #28)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:49 PM

30. Not trying to make it more difficult

Maybe I'm wrong, but citizenship seems easier to document than identification and residency.

Naturalized citizens are by definition in the system and given documention, natural born citizens can get birth certificates, though I suppose there's an expense for that.

Just seems to me that the downside of checking dicumentation is less onerous and less of a deterrent to voting than the threat of prison.

It's clear that in this case the voter lied, so certainly not the best example, but another voter might have simply not known the requirements, some of which are subtle and republicans keep changing them....

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Response to unblock (Reply #30)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:53 PM

32. So now instead of mailing your form, you'd have to go somewhere to prove your citizenship?

You don't think it would make it so much harder to register? You don't have to know the requirements, you just have to be honest. There is box on the form asking her if she was a citizen. Why did she check that she was if she wasn't?

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Response to LisaL (Reply #32)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 04:23 PM

34. Ok, point taken. Just trying to figure a way to avoid locking people up

For something that could result from ignorance.

This particular voter certainly seems not to have been ignorant, but it could happen to others, and the threat is problematic.

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Response to unblock (Reply #27)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:34 PM

29. Read the article - she falsified two voting registrations to vote.

On the first one, she indicated that she was a citizen and voted. After she moved, she filled out another voter registration in her new county, but checked the box that said she was a non-citizen. Her application was rejected. She called the local office, was told non-citizens could not vote, and filed a new app saying she was a citizen, which was registered per law. Then she voted again.

This was an outright case of voter fraud without the possibility of confusion on her part, and she received the heavy sentence (which is too harsh, IMO) because of it.

The law does not allow the voter registrars to check citizenship. They have to take the would-be voter's word for it.

She certainly knew she wasn't a citizen.

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Response to Yo_Mama (Reply #29)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:51 PM

31. I'm not excusing her actions. Just questioning the process.

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Response to unblock (Reply #31)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 03:55 PM

33. There is no freaking reason for democrats to argue that process needs to be made more difficult.

We already have republicans doing that.

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Response to unblock (Reply #31)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 04:35 PM

37. Well, there was a quiet ongoing legal brawl all last year, which resulted in no ID requests allowed.

Kansas, Arizona and I think one other state wanted to check citizenship as part of the voter registration process, and the legal outcome is that states are not allowed to do so.

The Democrats were working hard to get that outcome. So I doubt you are going to get a positive reception on this board by claiming that people shouldn't be able to register to vote without showing documents proving that they are US citizens.

The legal status currently is that states may only check citizenship for state and local elections registrations since Congress has in effect taken over voter registration. But of course voter registration is voter registration, so it is not allowed to check citizenship in order to register to vote by a matter of federal law.

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Response to unblock (Reply #27)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 04:26 PM

35. I note that TX is not an ERIC state

Last edited Mon Mar 20, 2017, 01:57 AM - Edit history (1)

If they were actually interested in the integrity of their registration lists they would join ERIC. Instead, like FL and so many other states, they are more interested in disenfranchising than integrity. You can't purge willy nilly if you have effective checks in place.

http://www.ericstates.org/whoweare

You also can"t engage in this type voter registration outreach:

https://www.sos.wa.gov/_assets/elections/2013-ERIC-Voter-Registration-in-Washington-State-FINAL-3-20-2014.pdf

Only 16 states participate in ERIC. If all of them did the system would develop into something that could put almost all of the suspicions -- founded and unfounded -- to rest

How about imposing severe penalties on a state for each eligible voters purged, or otherwise denied the right to vote by the standard process? (I.e., anyone denied their right entirely, or wrongfully forced to cast a provisional ballot.)

Most types of fraud committed to obtain public benefits are subject repayment and community service. Such offenses may also be subject to other misdeamenor penalties. Commiting fraud to vote could be considered a similar crime "against the state" and could reasonably be subject to similar penalties. For example, as far as I can tell from a quick reading, even draconian FL imposes relatively reasonable penalties for public benefit fraud. http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0400-0499/0414/Sections/0414.39.html

.

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Response to pat_k (Reply #35)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 04:39 PM

38. That sounds encouraging.

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Response to unblock (Reply #27)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 04:50 PM

39. If you make a mistake on your taxes

because of bad advice from the IRS, you're still held liable for it. It's everyone's responsibility to know and follow the law.
If an office worker lets something by that shouldn't have gone past them, well, it's shouldn't have gotten to his or her desk in the first place.

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Response to christx30 (Reply #39)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 05:07 PM

42. These are rather different animals

In fact the IRS does check certain things like math and that your 1040 matches your w-2. Generally you just pay a late fee if you got it wrong and owe more money. You're not really likely to risk prison unless the mistakes are convincingly intentional, like actually altering your w-2.

But the IRS couldn't possibly check everything. For instance, barter income is taxable and how could they know you mowed your neighbors lawn in exchange for them watching your dog during your vacation.

The citizenship question ought to be much easier to solve while keeping it simple to fulfill the requirements, i.e., free and convenient for voters.

I recognize that proving residency can be a challenge, e.g., a long-term houseguest (such as an elderly parent) whose name isn't on any utilities, or the homeless.

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Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 04:33 PM

36. How many meals on wheels would have the money spent on this case provided?

What a waste of money.

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Response to Sunlei (Original post)

Sun Mar 19, 2017, 06:13 PM

45. Although she did vote Repub: they'll make a case out of it. See,see all that voter fraud.

I still wonder how she registered to vote.

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