DALLAS (CN) — Texas officials are looking for a man who was indicted Monday on a charge of voter fraud in West Dallas, where a judge ordered hundreds of absentee ballots sequestered during local runoff elections in June.
A Dallas County grand jury indicted Miguel Hernandez, 27, with second-degree felony illegal voting. The indictment claims he knowingly marked a woman’s ballot without her consent in April.
Hernandez faces up to 20 years in state prison if convicted.
Prosecutor Andy Chatham – a former state district judge – said Monday the woman handed Hernandez a blank ballot after he offered to deliver it to elections officials on her behalf, and that it was submitted with her forged signature and the name of a Dallas City Council candidate.
Chatham told The Dallas Morning News the woman was able to pick Hernandez out of a lineup. Other residents have claimed a Hispanic man had knocked on their doors asking for their absentee ballots.
Chatham did not say if there are other people of interest in the investigation. He told the newspaper: “It’s all centered on getting Hernandez.”
Hernandez is “on the lam,” the Morning News reported Monday.
“I urge him to turn himself in, because things can go a lot better if he can provide assistance in this ongoing investigation,” Chatham said. “We are continuing to research and investigate whether this is a widespread problem or an isolated incident.”
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 then joined the investigation, saying it was to “solidify” public trust in elections.
Prosecutors asked state District Judge Carl Ginsberg to order the sequester of absentee ballots in the June 10 runoff election for cities and schools, resulting in election night results being delayed as the votes were not initially included in vote tallies.