Lawsuit alleges illegal votes were accepted in Mission mayoral runoff election
A lawsuit filed in the Hidalgo County court on Wednesday alleges that a number of votes were illegally cast during the Mission mayoral runoff election on June 9.
That’s according to the now former mayor of Mission, Norberto “Beto” Salinas.
Back in May, three candidates were vying for the position of Mission Mayor: Norberto “Beto” Salinas, Armando “Doc” O’caña and Jaime Gutierrez.
On that night, unofficial results showed that Salinas was short by three votes to receive the 50 percent majority to remain in office. Following a canvas of the votes, a runoff election was declared to take place on June 9.
On that evening, unofficial results showed that Armando “Doc” O’caña was declared the winner by 157 votes. O’caña was sworn-in as the new mayor of Mission on June 18.
The lawsuit states that more than 158 votes were illegally cast during the run-off election— including votes from the now current mayor of Mission and his wife.
According to the lawsuit, O’caña and his wife do not reside in the City of Mission as their voter registration address is not the same as their true residence.
The lawsuit also cites several examples of O’caña’s campaign workers inappropriately assisting voters, stating one worker took a voter’s ballot after the voter signed the carrier envelope, but didn’t seal it. According to the lawsuit, the voter wanted to vote for Salinas but his ballot was counted for O’caña.
Salinas also accuses O’caña’s campaign workers of bribing voters, saying they were offered money—between $10 to $40— and other items, like wood, in exchange for their vote.
The lawsuit cites an example in which a mail-in voter voted for O’caña, “because he was told that if he voted for Dr. O’caña that he would be assisted with his light bill.”
The lawsuit goes on to allege that legal votes were not accepted for voting in the runoff election. As many as 13 mail-in ballots were rejected and one or more provisional voter’s ballots were illegally rejected, according to the lawsuit.
Should the matter go to trial and the court accepts “all illegally rejected votes or the rejection of illegally accepted votes,” Salinas asks in the lawsuit that the court name him “the true winner of the run-off election held on June 9.”
If the court cannot find the true outcome, Salinas states in the lawsuit, then the election results should be declared void and a new election should be held.
CBS 4 reached out to Dr. O’caña regarding the lawsuit, he said that he has not been served with a lawsuit. He stated that the allegations are totally false and that, “the City of Mission has already spoken.”
We will continue to follow the latest on this lawsuit as it becomes available.