Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced Tuesday that authorities arrested a noncitizen for her alleged role in a voter assistance scheme during a 2016 border city runoff election.
Marcela Gutierrez, a non-United States citizen, was taken into custody following an investigation conducted by the AG’s office. On June 3, she was indicted by a Hidalgo County grand jury and charged with illegal voting for marking a ballot without a voter’s consent in a June 2016 Hidalgo city runoff election. Gutierrez purportedly misled a voter to believe she was demonstrating how to use a voting machine when, actually, the accused cast votes on a ballot for a slate of candidates she was paid to support.
In Texas, illegal voting is a second degree felony punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Gutierrez also faces 10 misdemeanor counts of unlawfully assisting a voter.
Two of her fellow campaign workers, Sylvia Arjona and Sara Ornelas, were implicated in the alleged voter assistance scheme. According to information provided by Paxton’s office, the three women stand accused of taking advantage of elderly and/or disabled voters.
Arjona and Ornelas were charged with a total of seven counts of unlawfully assisting a voter. Each offense is a class A misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.