A Texas mayoral candidate was arrested Wednesday night and faces felony voter fraud charges after allegedly sending 84 applications for mail-in ballots.
Zul Mohamed, who's running to become the mayor of Carrollton, a city roughly one hour north of Dallas, was charged with 25 counts of knowingly possessing a ballot with intent to defraud, a second-degree felony, and 84 counts of providing false info on a voting application, a third-degree felony, according to the Texas attorney general's office.
“Mail ballots are inherently insecure and vulnerable to fraud, and I am committed to safeguarding the integrity of our elections. My office is prepared to assist any Texas county in combating this form of fraud," Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.
Mohamed is being held in Denton County jail. His bond has not been set at the time of publication.
County and state investigators issued a search warrant on his home in Carrollton and discovered 25 ballots, the Denton County Sheriff's Office said.
The sheriff's office said that on Sept. 23, investigators became aware someone had requested absentee ballots be sent to a P.O. Box in Lewisville, Texas, which allegedly belonged to a nursing home facility. But when investigators contacted Carrollton residents whose ballots had been requested, those individuals said they had not applied for the ballots.
Police said they learned the P.O. Box had been obtained with a fake Texas driver's license and a false University of North Texas student ID. Police began surveilling the postal facility.
On Wednesday, the box of requested ballots was picked up at the facility; when police searched Mohamed's house, they allegedly found the box containing the registered ballots, with several already open.
"Voter fraud is a serious and widespread issue and cannot be tolerated," Denton County Sheriff Tracey Murphree said in a statement. "The fact an actual candidate for public office would engage in these activities is appalling. We will continue to aggressively investigate allegations of voter fraud."
Mohamed had been seeking election against incumbent Mayor Kevin Falconer.
If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.