Texas and Arizona are relatively close geographically, but when it comes to handling voter fraud, they're not in the same hemisphere.
This week, Dallas County announced its first indictment in the ongoing voter fraud investigation that resulted in hundreds of mail-in ballots being sequestered during the May municipal elections and last month's runoff.
Miguel Hernandez has been formally charged with the second-degree felony, illegal voting. It took the grand jury all of 5 hours to report out its indictment Monday morning.
However, more than a month after a warrant was issued for his arrest, the 27-year-old remains on the lam.
Dallas County prosecutors said the Texas attorney general's office is tasked with locating Hernandez, who is accused of taking a West Dallas resident's blank mail-in ballot, filling in a Dallas City Council candidate's name, and returning it to the county elections department.
It's believed hundreds, maybe thousands of Dallas County residents had their mail-in ballots compromised. The Texas AG's office is taking this issue very seriously.
“Nothing is more sacred to our democracy than the integrity of our voting process,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said.
“Recently, there have been too many questions raised about elections in Dallas County. I am honored that District Attorney Johnson has invited my office to assist in their investigation, and we will do everything within our resources and abilities to solidify trust in every election here and around the state.” - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Contrast this approach with what is happening in Apache County, Arizona.
Arizona is one of the 14 states refusing to hand over any voter data to President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission.
In just one county in the state — Apache County — there are more names listed on the voter roll than county residents over the age of 18.
As of July 1, 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that 52,056 people live in the county. The county's elections office reports that it has 52,831 voters on its roll — 101.5 percent of the population — and says on its website that it is intent on signing up more new voters.
If Apache County had a 72 percent voter participation rate, it would have just 37,480 voters on the rolls — 15,000 fewer than it does.
In her July 3 letter to Kris Kobach, the vice chair of the president's voter fraud commission, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, wrote that she didn't view providing the state's voter roll to the commission as "reasonably related to" the commission's "desire to enhance citizens' confidence in the electoral process."
"Arizona diligently follows the voter registration list maintenance requirements under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and, through the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program (IVRC), thoroughly investigates instances of double registrations or double voting across state lines. Thus I remain skeptical that Arizona's voter roll would shed light on any 'vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting' you appear to be investigating in other states."
Strangely, in the publication Arizona Central, two vastly different headlines were published within days of each other. The first noting the Secretary of State WOULD provide voter data to the president's voting commission, then, three hours later, said they would not.
To state there is "nothing wrong" with the Arizona voter roll seems to belie the nature of the problem.
President Trump's voter commission has paused on its voter data collection work. While this is happening, it might be good time for states to clean up their own voter rolls and make sure they are diligently working to eliminate voter fraud.
Photo Credit: AP