April 27, 2004
Rodriguez updates lawsuit

Rep. Ciro Rodriguez has amended his lawsuit against Henry Cuellar to allege that many people who voted in the runoff do not actually live in CD28.


The San Antonio Express-News visited some of the residences in question Monday based on information provided by Rodriguez's attorney, Buck Wood.

[...]

Two other homes listed in the lawsuit one littered with trash and with the front door standing off its hinges and another with a posted city application for remodeling appeared vacant when visited by a reporter. Records show 11 people living and voting at those addresses.

At a fourth address, a resident said he did not know six people who were registered there and voted in the primary.

Texas voter eligibility requirements mandate that a person be a resident of their county at least 30 days before the election.

Rodriguez officials, who have had investigators combing Webb County since late March, said they have reason to believe the irregularities extend beyond the 500 votes they say were cast with questionable voter registration addresses.

"I believe that if we're given a decent amount of time to investigate this case, we're going to find more and more and more of this," Wood said. "And we haven't even gotten to Zapata yet."

The Cuellar camp, meanwhile, said the allegations are more of the same misrepresentations that Rodriguez has engaged in since he lost the election, Connolly said.

"Do we think he's uncovered some kind of grave impropriety in Webb County? No," Connolly said. "We don't think that's the case at all, but until we have the chance to review the facts specifically, we can't really address it."

Connolly added that Cuellar's attorneys were anticipating Wood's strategy and plan to file a timely response by Wednesday.

Webb County Elections Administrator Oscar Villarreal said he was not aware of the Rodriguez findings.

"As far as people voting without living at a particular address, I have never heard of us having that kind of problem," Villarreal said.


That's just bizarre. What I'm wondering is how these alleged phantoms came to be registered in the first place. I look forward to hearing Cuellar's response to these charges.

UPDATE: The final amended form of the lawsuit just says "in excess of 100" unqualified voters cast ballots in Webb County.


Clinging to a court decision as his last hope, Rodriguez has had investigators in the Webb County area since late March.

Campaign officials said that investigation has turned up more than 500 questionable votes, but the lawsuit alleges "in excess of 100" such irregularities occurred to ensure legal accuracy.

"We don't want to say 250, for example, if it's 249," Puder said.

But Cuellar's attorneys immediately seized on the 100-voter figure Tuesday, saying it is a far cry from the 500 questionable addresses the Rodriguez campaign has said they are looking into.

"This is an act of desperation," Cuellar attorney Steve Bickerstaff said. "The original tack was to challenge the recounts (in Webb and Zapata counties), but now it's an act of targeting individuals within a single county who they think may have voted when they weren't eligible to."

Bickerstaff added that the suit makes no allegations of fraud or official misconduct.

A Cuellar response will be filed with the court today in advance of a pretrial hearing Thursday in Austin.

Cuellar's attorneys had asked that the case be dismissed based on insufficient evidence. Bickerstaff said that request stands.

"I've seen nothing in this (newly filed) petition to change that," he said.


We'll know soon enough.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on April 27, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack
Comments

Voting irregularities are common throughout the United States. In New York City, it is not uncommon to find out that many people are registered to vote in more than one location since the Board of Elections does not update or verify the addresses of each voter. Chicago is legendary for using dead people as registered voters in their elections, again, because no one verifies the identities and locations of these people.

This is not restricted to voters. In a Philadelphia, PA district, there is a race for state legislature where only one candidate actually lives in the area. One of the six hopefuls actually lives in New Jersey, but is also listed as living at his mother's address.

Until there is some method of voter verification, there will be abuses like this.

Posted by: William Hughes on April 27, 2004 8:13 AM

An important question is what happens legally. Surely voter fraud is illegal. Serriously illegal I should hope. Are any of these voters ever charged and if so what penalties do they receive?

Posted by: Boelf on April 27, 2004 8:28 AM