May 05, 2004
Recount 'em again

Get ready for another recount in CD28.

U.S. Rep. Ciro Rodriguez's legal case against challenger Henry Cuellar was severely hobbled Tuesday when a judge denied his attempt to raise the issue of possible illegal votes cast in Webb County in the disputed Congressional District 28 race.

But the blow was tempered by visiting District Court Judge Joseph Hart's ruling to order another recount of the nearly 15,000 Democratic primary ballots cast here a process that will take place Thursday and, if necessary, Friday.

The recount could bring the issue of who won the Democratic nomination nearer to resolution, although Rodriguez's attorney, Buck Wood, said he still plans to appeal the issue of illegal voting to the 4th Court of Appeals in San Antonio.

"I'm not pleased with (Hart's) ruling of not being able to plead the issue of those illegal votes," Wood said. "I'm not sure how to plead it more specifically than I did."

A trial still is slated to begin Tuesday in Laredo, although the substance of the case will depend on what happens during the recount, lawyers for both sides said.


Wood filed a lawsuit after the recount, alleging there were inexplicable vote swings during the Webb and Zapata recounts.

He later amended his lawsuit to include allegations of potential voting irregularities, including people who were registered to vote at addresses where they do not reside.

Hart threw out Wood's amended lawsuit Tuesday, saying it raised concerns that weren't included in the initial petition.

Although Wood presented to Cuellar's attorneys a list of 262 Webb County voters he claimed might have voted illegally, he never submitted any names to the court.

This may be a death blow to Ciro Rodriguez' hopes. His problem wasn't dangling chads or mismarked ballots, it was the discovery that some ballots hadn't been counted at all the first time around. I certainly agree that it's highly suspicious that those ballots broke heavily for Henry Cuellar, especially the 177-0 split in Webb County, but unless he can show evidence that there's a Box 13 situation going on, I think he's toast. His attorneys have put a happy face on this ruling, but I'm not seeing a winning path for him right now, at least not without a save from a higher court.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 05, 2004 to Election 2004 | TrackBack

Methinks Rodriguez needs to start checking for dangling and pregnant chads.

Posted by: Tim on May 6, 2004 1:36 PM