The GOP finally busted an "illegal" voter - and she's a Republican

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The GOP finally busted an

Rosa Maria Ortega was convicted last week by a Texas court of two felony charges of illegal voting, after casting a vote in two elections in 2012 and 2014.

Ironically, as reported by Fox, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton-for whom Ortega voted twice -assisted in her prosecution.

The case - and the harsh sentence, which will nearly certainly result in Ortega's deportation upon its completion - dovetails with the Republican Party's growing concern that mass voting fraud threatens the nation's electoral systems.

"This case shows how serious Texas is about keeping its elections secure, and the outcome sends a message that violators of the state's election law will be prosecuted to the fullest", Paxton said in a statement. "Safeguarding the integrity of our elections is essential to preserving our democracy".

Several investigations and studies have found voter fraud to be extremely rare, but President Donald Trump and other Republican elected officials have insisted that it is.

Reacting to his client's punishment, Ortega's lawyer Clark Birdsall said her sentence was unduly harsh and created to please those "swept up in the Trump hysteria where he is trying to find an explanation for why he lost the popular vote". "She had no ulterior motive beyond what she thought, mistakenly, was her civic duty".

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The issue for Ortega was simple: people with "permanent resident" status are not permitted to vote in national, state, or local elections that require citizenship to cast a ballot. Prosecutors said she phoned to request another form and check that she was a citizen, the Star-Telegram reported.

In addition to the long prison sentence, Ortega is likely to be deported, her lawyer Clark Birdsall said.

Sam Jordan, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Sharon Wilson Wilson, said the decision to prosecute had "absolutely nothing" to do with immigration. In one instance, Ortega claimed she didn't know she wasn't allowed to vote.

As the Times noted in 2016, Republicans across the country have occasionally dropped the pretense that fraud is a criminal problem to admit restrictions on voting rights help their party win elections.

Ortega, 37, was indicted in 2015 but was just sentenced this week. She then tried to register to vote in another county, but election officials there rejected her application after she admitted she was a non-citizen. "This case shows a clear need to enforce the laws we already have". He plans to start an online crowdfunding page for Ortega, a single mother of four children ages 13 to 16. "I don't see any joy at the end of that road, but it will be appealed".

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