DALLAS (CN) – A key suspect in the West Dallas elderly voter-fraud investigation was arrested Wednesday after spending a month on the lam.
Miguel Hernandez, 27, is being held at the Dallas County Jail on $100,000 bond, according to jail records. A grand jury indicted him on Monday on a second-degree felony illegal voting charge. He faces up to 20 years in state prison if convicted.
Residents have complained of a Hispanic man knocking on their doors asking for their absentee ballots. Prosecutors say a woman picked Hernandez out of a lineup after saying she handed him a blank ballot that he allegedly offered to deliver to elections officials on her behalf.
Prosecutor Andy Chatham – a former state district judge – said Thursday the next step depends on whether Hernandez wants to make a statement.
“He has the right to remain silent, and if he chooses to do that I certainly respect it, but I am hoping he will open a dialogue,” he told The Dallas Morning News. “But that remains between him and his attorney.”
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson began the investigation in May after several elderly voters in West Dallas complained about receiving absentee ballots in the mail they did not request. Others complained they were unable to vote on Election Day as someone apparently had mailed in absentee votes in their names. Attorney General Ken Paxton – a fellow Republican – soon after joined the investigation, saying it was to “solidify” public trust in elections.
Hernandez was arrested by the Texas Attorney General’s Fugitive Unit, Chatham said.
Uncertainty over more fraudulent votes resulted in a state district judge sequestering several hundred absentee ballots during local runoff elections last month, a move that delayed election night results.