Remember all of that imaginary voter fraud? You know… the sort of thing that never happens and proves that Republicans are a bunch of racist, women hating bigots who don’t want anyone else voting? Well, if you stop by the Lone Star State you might have to reconsider that opinion. The Feds have gotten involved in a seriously wide-spread investigation of “pay to vote” there and it follows a playbook we’ve seen before. But since it involves a more cross-cultural environment, it’s been given a new name. Let us introduce you to the Politqueras. (From the Houston Chronicle.)

Texas Republicans want to know what Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa knew about voter fraud in the Rio Grande Valley when he led the party there in one of the state’s Democratic strongholds.

In a statement Tuesday, Republican Party of Texas Chairman Tom Mechler said Hinojosa “needs to come clean with the people of Texas” about whether he “personally participated in the corrupt practice of using politqueras to commit voter fraud.”

“Voters deserve to know whether Chairman Hinojosa knowingly oversaw institutional voter fraud or if he simply turned a blind eye to fraudulent practices that were routinely committed by Democrat candidates in South Texas,” Mechler said.

The practice of using so called “politqueras” to win elections was detailed recently at NPR. Some of this will sound familiar to those who follow politics in America closely.

“Yes, there is a concern in which the politiqueras are being paid to then go and essentially round up voters and have them vote a certain way,” says James Sturgis, assistant U.S. attorney in McAllen.

In the town of Donna, five politiqueras pleaded guilty to election fraud. Voters were bribed with cigarettes, beer or dime bags of cocaine. In neighboring Cameron County, nine politiqueras were charged with manipulating mail-in ballots.

The self-anointed queen of politiqueras in Cameron County is 86-year-old Herminia Becerra. She says she’s been working in campaigns for nearly 60 years.

The language may be different but it’s nothing we haven’t seen over the years in New York City, Chicago and numerous other places. This is blatant “pay to vote” on a widespread scale. But before we get into that, let’s issue a few disclaimers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a grassroots, GOTV effort. If you can go out there and inspire people to not only register, but to win them over with a reasoned debate on the issues and gain their support, that’s pretty much the definition of success in politics. You have to win the messaging battle and get people to buy into your vision. (Of course, after the election, you have to deliver on the promise.)

But when you round up a bunch of people who have no intention of voting and have no interest in the process and pay them off with either cash, drugs, cigarettes or booze in exchange for filling out some forms, that is voter fraud. Yes, they may have legally registered (assuming they are eligible citizens) and they may have cast the ballots, but paying to play is not allowed. It’s still voter fraud, plain and simple. And while they may find some examples on either side if they look hard enough, isn’t it a coincidence that so many of them wind up voting for the Democrats?

Funny how that works, eh? But don’t bother listening to me. Voter fraud is a myth and there’s no reason for voter ID. I know this because I hear it in the news every week.