Late last week, Najvar Law Firm scored a victory in the Thirteenth Court of Appeals that sets a landmark precedent in the fight against illegal voting in the Texas Rio Grande Valley.
After a four-day trial in March 2014, a Hidalgo County trial court found that NLF had proven by clear and convincing evidence that 30 illegal votes had been cast in a race for Weslaco City Commission, ordering a new election. The illegal votes--more than twice the purported margin of victory in the November 2013 election--were comprised of votes cast by individuals falsely claiming to live at relatives' homes in the city district and ballots by mail that were returned in violation of the Election Code.
Our opponent appealed the ruling, but the Court of Appeals' decision affirmed the order for a new election.
“We always knew this wouldn’t be easy,” Najvar said of the process. “There’s still over a year left in his term, so it’s important for this term but even more important for the principles that it establishes. Now we have a court of appeals opinion that affirms our arguments. This is the first time the court of appeals has had to enforce the voting residency requirement in at least a couple of decades, so it shows that there’s teeth to this residency requirement and teeth to the anti-fraud provisions by mail.”
SEE COVERAGE IN THE MONITOR HERE
SEE THE COURT'S OPINION HERE
NLF represents Letty Lopez in the case, against incumbent Commissioner Lupe Rivera. Unless a petition for review to the Texas Supreme Court is filed, Lopez will be requesting a hearing as soon as possible in the district court to set a date for the new election.
Jerad Najvar practices political and appellate law and is founder of the Najvar Law Firm in Houston. He served as co-counsel to plaintiff Shaun McCutcheon in McCutcheon v. FEC, a successful challenge to federal aggregate contribution limits decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.
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