A Republican green card holder who voted illegally in Texas was sentenced to eight years in prison, the Washington Post reports.
Rosa Maria Ortega, 37, on Wednesday was convicted of two felony charges for voting illegally and will likely be deported back to Mexico, where she was born, the Post reports. Ortega cast a ballot as a noncitizen in 2012 and again in 2014, but didn’t vote in 2016.
The sentence was announced weeks after President Donald Trump vowed he would crack down on voter fraud. Trump, in an interview with Bill O’Reilly last Sunday, said that Vice President Mike Pence would lead the charge into an investigation of the alleged 3 million people who voted illegally in the 2016 election.
Trump won the electoral vote but lost the popular vote to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes.
Ortega, brought to the U.S. as an infant by her mother, was a registered Republican who had voted for more than a decade. She checked ‘citizen’ over ‘noncitizen’ on her voter application because she didn’t know better, her attorney Clark Birdsall told the Post.
"She doesn't know. She's got this [green] card that says 'resident' on it, so she doesn't mark that she's not a citizen," Birdsall said. "She had no ulterior motive beyond what she thought, mistakenly, was her civic duty."
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who prosecuted the case, said Texas is serious about cracking down on voter fraud.
"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."
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