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Petition forgery case (probably) resolved

Hadn’t seen an update on this in awhile.

An appeals court has ruled that forged signatures will keep a candidate off the November ballot, a decision the Pasadena justice of the peace hopeful said she will appeal,

But unless Leonila Olivares-Salazar gets some kind of decision from the Texas Supreme Court within days, voters will not see the Republican candidate’s name.

“I’m hoping they make the right decision for the community,” Olivares-Salazar said Thursday before referring questions to attorneys drafting emergency motions asking the state’s highest court to keep her name on the ballot while they take the time to consider the case.

Harris County Clerk Stan Stanart’s deadline for completing the ballot is Friday, and he said he can push that back only five days.

“I need to have a ruling by Sept. 10,” he said. The county office must comply with laws mandating when printed ballots are mailed to Harris County citizens who are overseas.

On Wednesday, Houston’s 1st Court of Appeals ruled that Olivares-Salazar’s name will not appear on the ballot because of fraudulent signatures on her party application.

She is challenging longtime Precinct 2 Place 2 Justice of the Peace George Risner for the seat.

Risner, a Democrat first elected in 1987, sued Olivares-Salazar and the Harris County Republican Party in January claiming the party violated state election law, claiming hundreds of signatures were forged.


A Beaumont judge presiding over the lawsuit allowed the Republican to correct the situation, by handing in valid signatures after the deadline.

Two of the three appellate judges, all Republicans, ruled Wednesday that the law does not allow Olivares-Salazar to try again. The dissenting judge did not issue an opinion.

See here and here for the background. Olivares-Salazar had hired people to collect signatures for her, and four of them wound up going down on charges related to them faking the signatures that were turned in on her behalf, though she herself was never alleged to have engaged in any wrongdoing. I have a lot of sympathy for the argument that our system of democracy is better served when all races feature at least two well-qualified opponents, which pending quick Supreme Court action will not be the case here. I have more sympathy for the judicial candidates that do the hard work of collecting signatures themselves, and I have a harder time being sympathetic for candidates that would be the beneficiaries of a fraud that has already been proven to have taken place. It is certainly true that this sort of thing could eventually befall a candidate that I like, as Olivares-Salazar’s attorney, the infamous pecksniff Andy Taylor, asserts. But if that ever happens, I won’t defend said candidate, I’ll be pissed off at him or her, because they should know better and we their supporters deserve better. Olivares-Salazar herself may be innocent of any bad behavior, but there’s nothing innocent about the behavior that would have out her on the ballot. That to me is the critical difference.

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  1. Manuel Barrera says:

    Democrats in Harris have resorted to challenging petitions as it seems that may be the only way they can win or at least think they can win. Judge Rodriguez did the same thing.

    Still want to know why the Democrats were silent when Risner’s aide said she was going “wetback” hunting.

    Still want to know why the Democratic Chair locked the door and refused to speak to the DREAMERS?

    Still want to know why a Latino Democrat who happens to be Sheriff deports more Latinos then Sheriff Joe Arpaio?

    While at it, why are Homosexuals targeting Latino districts?

  2. Phillip Webb says:

    Just speaking to your comment about not feeling sorry for judicial candidates who don’t do the work themselves: The only reason why Ms. Salazar chose to retain any paid help in gathering signatures is because she made her decision to run for JP very close to the deadline to file. She, herself, worked at obtained signatures while she trusted others that were paid to do the same. With the deadline looming in the near distance and not having a solid volunteer base at the time, why shouldn’t someone trust others (volunteers or paid help) to assist in that effort? Have you ever attempted to gather 500 (or 250 if you pay the filing fee) signatures in a JP race?? Those signatures have got to come from registered voters within that JP precinct. Speaking from experience, its not that easy. I believe any Risner or any other sitting JP or JP candidate would agree that it is a tedious task.

  3. Ross says:

    It may be a tedious task, but if a candidate outsources the work, he or she is still responsible for the final result, and should not get a do over when the hired help doesn’t do their job timely.