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Texas Woman Gets 8 Years in Prison and Likely Deportation For Simply Voting

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Photo from The New York Times. Rosa Maria Ortega with her family.

The New York Times has a story that you need to read if you haven’t yet. Though be warned, it’s extremely tragic and infuriating. It’s the story of a pawn caught in a ridiculous battle over large scale voter fraud that doesn’t exist.

Rosa Maria Ortega, who was brought to the U.S. by her mother as an infant, had been living in the U.S. for 37 years and is a mother of four living outside of Dallas. However, she wasn’t able to legally vote. On Thursday, she was sentenced to eight years in prison (along with almost certain deportation after) for illegally voting in the 2012 and 2014 elections. Ortega claimed that she wasn’t aware she was ineligible to vote and was confused by the registration forms.

“She has a sixth-grade education. She didn’t know she wasn’t legal,” said Ms. Ortega’s lawyer. “She can own property; she can serve in the military; she can get a job; she can pay taxes. But she can’t vote, and she didn’t know that.”

According to the New York Times story, the punishment was exceedingly harsh for the offense, which would usually merit less jail time, if any. But Tarrant County criminal district attorney Sharen Wilson used this as an opportunity to showcase her office’s efforts to crack down on the made-up issue of large scale voter fraud.

You can read the full story here.

 

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