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Texas law enforcement officials arrested four individuals Thursday for their alleged involvement in an illegal ballot harvesting scheme in the state’s 2018 Democrat primary election. Among those apprehended and facing some of the 134 felony voter fraud charges was the Democrat who claimed the primary race.

“The four individuals—Charlie Burns, Dewayne Ward, Marlena Jackson and Jackson’s husband Shannon Brown, a Democrat who was serving as Gregg County’s Precinct 4 commissioner—collectively stand accused of 134 different felony charges of election fraud and ballot tampering,” Newsweek reported. “If found guilty, each individual could face six months in jail to 99 years in prison.”

The charge list against the individuals was long and inclusive. It included engaging in organized election fraud, illegal voting, fraudulent use of an application for a mail-in ballot, unlawful possession of a mail-in ballot, tampering with a governmental record, and election fraud.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton used an official statement to caution that mail ballots are “vulnerable to diversion, coercion, and influence by organized vote harvesting schemes.” He said:

It is an unfortunate reality that elections can be stolen outright by mail ballot fraud. Election fraud, particularly an organized mail ballot fraud scheme orchestrated by political operatives, is an affront to democracy and results in voter disenfranchisement and corruption at the highest level.

Mail ballots are vulnerable to diversion, coercion, and influence by organized vote harvesting schemes. This case demonstrates my commitment to ensuring Texas has the most secure elections in the country, and I thank the Gregg County Sheriff and District Attorney for their continued partnership. Those who try to manipulate the outcome of elections in Texas must be held accountable.

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