All 16 misdemeanor charges against District 5 Commissioner Guadalupe “Lupe” Vallejo Rivera, 70, of Weslaco resulted from the hotly contested race for City Commission District 5 during November 2013.
Rivera narrowly won re-election, defeating challenger Leticia “Letty” Lopez by 16 votes.
Lopez, though, filed a lawsuit alleging voter fraud. Questionable voter registrations — including 23 people who listed the same single-family on registration forms — and allegations about mail-in ballots emerged at trial. After a lengthy appeal, a judge ordered a new election.
Investigators with the Attorney General’s Office reviewed testimony and evidence from the trial.
On Oct. 6, the Attorney General’s Office charged Rivera with:
- One count of unlawful assistance to a voter, a Class A misdemeanor
- Six counts of method of returning marked ballot ( fewer than 10 ballots), a Class B misdemeanor
- Six counts of carrier envelope action by person other than voter, a Class B misdemeanor
- Three counts of assisting voter violation, a Class A misdemeanor
Court records don’t list an attorney for Rivera, who couldn’t be reached for comment about the charges. Two attorneys who previously represented Rivera couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
The new election is scheduled for Nov. 3.
Rivera is scheduled for arraignment two weeks later.