By U.S. Attorney General
BROWNSVILLE, TX—Sonia Leticia Solis, 54, has been charged with voting more than once in connection with the 2012 primary runoff election held in Cameron County on July 31, 2012, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.
The indictment, returned under seal August 13, 2013, was unsealed today following her arrest by federal authorities in Fort Worth. Solis, formerly of Brownsville, (made) her initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton in Fort Worth and is expected to be ordered to Brownsville in the near future.
The indictment alleges Solis was a resident of Brownsville during the 2012 runoff election. At that time, she allegedly cast five votes by absentee ballot in the names of five different individuals.
If convicted, Solis faces a possible federal prison sentence of up to five years and could be ordered to pay a maximum $10,000 fine.
This case was investigated by the FBI and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bill Hagen.
An indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
"These units have the bedroom at the top of the stairs," said the manager. "There's a kitchen and a small living room downstairs. You can't have too many people inside at one time."
Yet, from one of these efficiency "condominiums," five mail-in votes were cast in the runoff July 31. The names of the voters does not appear in the door or mail box of the units. And the manager says he does not remember five people living at the unit in addition to a young tenant and his father who now are the only ones to occupy the dwelling. The kicker is that the person who cast those votes listed the reason they were casting mail-in ballots was because they were "disabled."
"There's no way seven people can live in one of those units," he said. "As far as I know, that many people have never lived there. How can you be disabled and still climb the stairs to the bedroom?"
And yet, a statistical analysis of the mail-in votes cast in that runoff election indicate that they made up part of the total cast in that voting precinct in favor of JP 2-2 Erin Hernandez Garcia in her race against Yolanda Begum. And the name of the woman on the mailed envelopes is none other than a well-known politiquera allied with the Hernandezes.
But how could it be that the mail-in votes could have been cast from that unit?
"They were," said Mary Helen Flores, an anti-voting fraud activist with Citizens Against Voter Abuse (CAVA). "We have gone to knock on the door at least three times and the current tenant said that the voters no longer live there. At first he said that they had gone on vacation and would be back later. When we asked when, he said that they would be gone for months."
However, the tenant also told other people – including the manager of the complex – that the people listed as voting from his unit's address had left the apartment at least four months ago. That raises yet another question. If they left the apartment four months ago, how is it that they could have applied for the mail-in ballots from the Brownsville address. And the killer, of course. How could they have voted by mail from that address if they had been gone for two months after the July 31 runoff?
Could it be that someone had applied and received the mail-in ballots, filled them out an returned them, without their consent or knowledge? Did someone have their cards?
"Those people have never lived there," Flores said.