In a letter to Robert Rapoza, executive director of the Rhode Island Board of Elections (RI BOE), Ward 15 Providence City Councilmember Sabina Matos levels a series of accusations at her Democratic primary opponent Oscar Vargas and members of his family, alleging that Vargas, his wife Claudia Vargas and others have illegally voted in Providence over the course of many years and many elections.
“The evidence I have gathered indicates that Mr Vargas does not live in the city of Providence, where he has been voting for the past twelve years,” writes Matos, “rather, it shows he lives in the city of Warwick with his wife Claudia and his children.”
In testimony before the Providence Board of Canvassers, Vargas maintained that he lives at his 150 Dora Street home in Providence, and has been separated from his wife, who lives on 63 Irving Road in Warwick, with his two minor children, who attend school in Warwick. In his testimony, Vargas seemed to imply that his wife has voted in Providence despite her Warwick residency. Vargas’ voting record indicates he voted in Providence.
Matos makes a series of accusations in her complaint to the RI BOE:
- Oscar Vargas purchased a single-family home located at 63 Irving Road in Warwick in 2006 but claims to have never personally lived there. Instead, he claims that his wife has lived there alone with their mutual children. To explain this arrangement, Oscar Vargas testified under oath that he and his wife separated eight years ago.
- In a Facebook profile created in 2011, under the name “Vargas Oscar” Oscar states that he “Lives in Warwick” and that he married his wife Claudia in 2012, two years after he claims they separated. I contend that 150 Dora Street was used as rental property and that Oscar and Claudia Vargas have lived with their children in Warwick since 2006.
- On September 9, 2000 Mrs Claudia Vargas registered to vote at 150 Dora Street. Mrs Claudia M Vargas, Oscar’s wife, has voted from 150 Dora Street in Providence in the 2012, 2014 and 2016 election cycles. Mr Oscar Vargas, under oath, told the Providence Board of Canvassers that he and Mrs Claudia Vargas have been separated for the last eight years and Mrs Claudia Vargas has lived at 63 Irving Road in Warwick. A few days before my complaint was filed with the Providence Board of Canvassers, Claudia changed her voting address to 63 Irving Road in Warwick. I contend that this is a case of voter fraud engineered by Oscar Vargas for the sole purpose of gaining political favor in the city of Providence, where he owns a business.
- On August 4, 2016, Mr Byron Lemus registered to vote, giving the address of 150 Dora Street. However, in a letter produced by Mr Oscar Vargas’ attorney, an employee of the Park View Center nursing home wrote that Mr Lemus has been living at Park View Center since May 27, 2016. Mr Byron Lemus subsequently voted in the September 2016 Democratic Primary, which was the only election that he has participated in in his entire life. Since Mr Lemus was not living at 150 Dora Street in August of 2016 he never should have registered to vote at that address. I contend that this is a case of voter fraud engineered by Oscar Vargas for the sole purpose of gaining political favor in the city of Providence, where he owns a business.
- On May 7, 2018, Mr Oscar Vargas’ daughter registered to vote from 150 Dora Street. However, during the month of May, Ms Vargas was finishing her senior year of high school in the City of Warwick. For Ms Vargas to attend Warwick Public Schools, she would have had to be living in Warwick at her parents’ home on Irving Road. Since Ms Vargas was not living at 150 Dora Street in May of 2018 she should never have registered to vote at that address. I contend that this is a case of fraudulent voter registration engineered by Oscar Vargas for the sole purpose of gaining political favor in the city of Providence, where he owns a business.
- Last week, at a residency hearing held by the Providence Board of Canvassers, Mr Oscar Vargas testified under oath that he and his wife have been separated for eight years. However, they have never been divorced and they are frequently seen together in public and in pictures on social media. I believe this assertion of separation is a fraud, the purpose of which being so that Mr. Vargas can run for elected office in Providence while his children continue to attend Warwick Public Schools.
In her letter Matos asserts that “these matters demonstrate a clear pattern of willful criminal behavior in the form of voter manipulation and voter fraud organized by Mr Oscar Vargas for personal gain. While each of the cases above is a separate instance of voter manipulation, the common denominator is that they all occurred under one roof. This is not by accident, nor is it a coincidence. The Rhode Island Board of Elections should use its authority to fully investigate these matters.”
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