The attorney general made the announcement after a woman was arrested by the state Election Fraud Unit late last week for multiple counts of election fraud, according to a news release from his office.
“We will prosecute voter fraud every time we find it,” Paxton, a Republican, wrote on Twitter over the weekend in reference to the case. “Currently our office has over 500 cases waiting to be heard in court.”
While Paxton didn’t provide any more information about the cases, he asserted that “voter fraud is real” and that “Texans deserve to know their vote is legally and securely counted.”
According to the news release from his office, which provided scant details about the case, Monica Mendez was arrested and booked into the Victoria County Jail on June 23. It came after a grand jury returned an indictment on seven counts of illegal voting, eight counts of unlawfully assisting a voter, eight counts of unlawful possession of ballots, and eight counts of election fraud.
Her case, however, was not related to the Nov. 3 election, the release said. Instead, the Texas secretary of state referred Mendez to the attorney general’s office after she faced allegations of illegal voting stemming from a 2018 local election.
Referring to the Mendez case, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott suggested that his office will continue to pursue laws that are designed to bolster security around elections. The governor several days ago announced a special session of the state Legislature to pass a number of measures relating to voter fraud laws, critical race theory, and regarding how the state handles bail bonds.
In May, Texas’s state Senate approved a sweeping bill that would grant more power to poll watchers by giving them increased access inside polling areas. It would also create new penalties against election officials who restrict poll watchers’ movements and would also allow a judge to void the outcome of an election if the number of fraudulent votes could change the result, among other provisions.
However, during the final hours of the previous legislative session on May 30, state House Democrats walked out before the Republican-led chamber could vote on the Senate’s bill.
“I fully expect to have a session where we will pass an election integrity bill as well as bail reform,” Abbott told the Dallas Morning News earlier this month. “Those are both needed and they both must pass. And as we get there, we may be adding some additional items.”
Democrats, meanwhile, have generally opposed the GOP-backed election reform bills that are being proposed in Texas. They have argued that such bills would restrict voting access to minority groups.