These are proud days for the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina—so proud that they put out a press release on Monday announcing the big news: They finally slammed an undocumented immigrant living in the U.S. with actual jail time for voting illegally.
Written with all the seriousness of a release about drug cartel convictions or a child porn bust, the statement said that Guadalupe Espinosa-Pena, a 61 year old Mexican national living in Wake County, North Carolina, had been sentenced to one month in prison and one year of supervised release after pleading guilty “to illegal voting by an alien.”
Espinosa-Pena is a lawful permanent resident who was denied citizenship. According to the DOJ, he tried to register to vote in North Carolina and was told he couldn’t, as he’s not a citizen. But—and here’s where the criminal mastermind part comes in—he registered and voted anyway.
Per the DOJ (emphasis theirs):
Thereafter, ESPINOSA-PENA nonetheless completed a voter registration with an election official’s aid and registered to vote. The election official advised ESPINOSA-PENA that “if he wanted his voice to be heard, he needed to vote.” As detailed in the Indictment, ESPINOSA-PENA voted in the General Election of 2016 in Wake County, North Carolina held in part for the purpose of electing a candidate for the office of President of the United States.
Excuse me, an ELECTION OFFICIAL aided this LITERAL ALIEN in his efforts to CHIP AWAY AT THE VERY FIBER OF OUR DEMOCRACY??? Oh, I guess that guy got jammed up too, according to WRAL:
A former Wake County elections precinct worker, Denslo Allen Paige, was sentenced in February to two months in prison and was fined $250 after pleading guilty to helping Espinosa-Pena complete his voter registration.
I’ll state the obvious: voting is, unfortunately, a right only extended to U.S. citizens, a process that’s reportedly taking longer than ever under this administration. Unfortunately, this prosecution for a deeply rare, nonviolent crime was to be expected, given Donald Trump’s affinity for boldly lying about anywhere from three to five million undocumented people voting in the 2016 presidential race. It’s a claim that’s been seized on by conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, and all manner of racist elected Republicans.
But the notion of widespread “voter fraud” as spun by Republicans is a virtually nonexistent phenomenon, and no one on Team Trump has ever presented evidence to back up those outlandish claims. The only election fraud that’s taking place—across the nation, on a scale vast enough to steal elections—is Republican-led voter suppression. They love it! They want to keep doing it forever! Talking about “voter fraud” is just a convenient sideshow. And it’s a damn shame that the courts are now taking cues from the Republicans’ propaganda machine.