A Texas judge has invalidated a city commissioner election as the result of vote fraud. The judge called for a new election after, “Lupe Rivera won the election against Letty Lopez by 16 votes.” Lopez contested the results of the November 2013 election and claimed that 44 votes were illegally cast.
The judge carefully evaluated each of the 44 contested votes individually. Many of the votes were cast by people who deliberately, illegally registered under a “home is where the heart is” residency standard. These individuals registered at homes belonging to Rivera’s friends, neighbors, and relatives, including several at Rivera’s childhood address. Other ballots were disqualified because legal voters testified in court that they had not voted in the election, despite the existence of ballots cast in their names. Additionally, there were questions surrounding the validity of some of the absentee ballots.
At the end of the investigation, Rivera led by only two votes. As a result of the tremendous confusion and uncertainty created by the contested ballots, the judge refused to declare a winner and ordered a new election.
This is not the only current instance of vote fraud in Westlaco. Earlier this month, a 72-year-old former campaign worker pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of vote-buying.
Letty Lopez’s attorney said the fraud he found in this case isn’t unique. “It’s not unusual at all. . . . I’ve had calls from other people with similar issues, and I think it happens all the time here.”