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Eight-year sentence for U.S. voter fraud convict

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A permanent US resident living in Texas was sentenced to eight years in prison for illegally voting in multiple elections over several years, including for Mitt Romney in 2012, though not in the 2016 election.

A Tarrant County (Fort Worth) jury convicted 37-year-old Rosa Maria Ortega on two felony counts, and the punishment is eight years in the slammer and a $5,000 fine.

The case - and the harsh sentence, which will nearly certainly result in Ortega's deportation upon its completion - dovetails with the Republican Party's growing concern that mass voting fraud threatens the nation's electoral systems.

According to the New York Times, Ortega was born in Monterrey, Mexico and brought to the U.S.by her mother as an infant.

Ortega was arrested in 2015 but her the case didn't reach fruition until now which coincides with increased talk of voter fraud. He said she voted Republican, including for Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, whose office helped prosecute her. She then tried to register to vote in another county, but election officials there rejected her application after she admitted she was a non-citizen.

The harsh sentence came down as part of an effort to show "how serious Texas is about keeping its elections secure", according to a statement from state GOP Attorney General Ken Paxton.

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Sam Jordan, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Sharon Wilson Wilson, said the decision to prosecute had "absolutely nothing" to do with immigration. He said Ortega had learning disabilities and only a sixth-grade education. On her voter application, Ortega was faced with only two options - to mark herself as a "citizen" or a "noncitizen" - and didn't know better, he added.

"It was the 800lb gorilla sitting in the jury box", Birdsall said.

In spite of all evidence to the contrary, Trump's senior advisor Stephen Miller appeared on United States television yesterday to repeat unfounded claims of mass voter fraud in the United States election. More than a decade later, her mother was deported and Ortega became a permanent resident. A strict voter identity law that Texas passed was struck down by a federal court past year, which found that it discriminated against black and Latino people who could not get the required documentation.

"This morning, on this show, is not the venue for me to lay out all the evidence, but I can tell you this, voter fraud is a serious problem in this country", Miller told ABC. In January, the Supreme Court declined to review the lower court's ruling.

Specifically, Ortega voted in the November 2012 election and May 2014 Republican primary runoff vote in Dallas County, The Dallas News reported.

They plan to file an appeal, though the conviction is unlikely to be overturned.

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