Lawsuit claims Hidalgo County voting machines ‘either faulty or tampered with’

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Rumors about rigged elections aren’t anything new in Hidalgo County. (AP File Photo / Matt Rourke)

Voting machines in western Hidalgo County were “either faulty or tampered with” to rig the Democratic Party primary runoff election, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

Bail bondsman Arnaldo Corpus — who challenged Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Place 2 Marcos Ochoa in the primary — filed the lawsuit.

Ochoa won 54 percent of 6,625 ballots cast, defeating Corpus, according to results published by the Hidalgo County Elections Department.

Corpus, though, claims the Elections Department count isn’t correct.

“As a result of such irregularities, the canvass does not reflect the true result. Upon trial of this contest, contestant will show that the Contestant is true winner of the election,” according to the lawsuit. “In the alternative, if the true outcome of the election cannot be determined, contestant requests that the election results be declared void, and that a new election be held.”

Rumors about rigged elections aren’t anything new in Hidalgo County.

In 2014, the concerns prompted the Commissioners Court to request a forensic audit. The expert hired by the county didn’t find any evidence of tampering or fraud.

Corpus also alleged various other violations of the law and illegal activity influenced the election results, including:

Contestants will show that a number of voters were either coerced by the improper use of official resources and/or the offering or withholding of government benefits (such as housing controlled by the local housing administration), or were paid, to vote for contestee.
The primary administrator, Kenna Giffin, violated mandatory provisions of the Election Code, which require automatic invalidation of the election. The violations were numerous, constituted more than minor deviations from the requirements of the Election Code, were done with knowledge and intent, and were done without proper authority.
Contestant would also aver that On March 17, 2016, Leo Gonzalez, Opponent in the Primary Election, endorsed Contestee in violation of Judicial Code of Conduct and unduly influenced the results of the election.

Corpus filed the lawsuit pro se. Asked for comment on the lawsuit, Corpus said he would hold a news conference Tuesday or Wednesday.

Ochoa couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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