Donna, TX — Three women working as politiqueras in the 2012 elections in Donna were arrested by F.B.I. agents in December and accused of giving residents cash, drugs, beer and cigarettes in exchange for their votes.
According to court documents, the typical payment to a voter was $10, a sign of the extreme poverty in the Rio Grande Valley, which is home to some of the poorest counties in America. Two of the three women — Rebecca Gonzalez and Guadalupe Escamilla — are accused of paying some voters as little as $3 for each of their votes. One voter was given a pack of cigarettes. Others were taken to buy drugs after they received cash for voting for a politiquera’s candidate.