We propose an innovative mechanism for enhancing mixing in steady pressure driven flow of an electrolytic solution in a straight rectangular microchannel. A transverse electric field is used to generate an electroosmotic flow across the cross-section. The resulting flow field consists of a pair of helical vortices that transport fluid elements along the channel. We show, through numerical simulations, that chaotic advection may be induced by periodically varying the direction of the applied electric field along the channel length. This periodic electric field generates a longitudinally varying, three-dimensional steady flow, such that the streamlines in the first half of the repeating unit cell intersect those in the second half, when projected onto the cross-section. Mixing is qualitatively characterized by tracking passive particles and obtaining Poincaré maps. For quantification of the extent of mixing, Shannon entropy is calculated using particle advection of a binary mixture. The convection diffusion equation is also used to track the evolution of a scalar species and quantify the mixing efficiency as a function of the Péclet number. © 2017 American Physical Society.