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Woman with criminal record serves on voter signature verification committee, raising questions

Local News

HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas (KVEO) — A woman with a prior conviction in Hidalgo County is on the county’s voter signature verification committee, which is raising questions as to whether it’s legal for her to take on that role. 

“You want to have people that are going to be impartial and respectful and they’re going to do what’s right,” said Adrienne Peña Garza, who is the Republican Party Chair for Hidalgo County.  

Garza said there is a lot of concern about who is on the voter signature verification committee. 

The woman in question is Sylvia Handy, who was convicted of stealing $200,000 from Hidalgo County. She has since served her time in prison, but many are not on board. 

“The law might allow this, but it doesn’t make it right the county commissioners here in Hidalgo County should fight for the ethics and reputation of our county,” said Garza.

According to the Texas Election Code, it is not illegal for someone with a prior record to serve on the signature verification committee. While there’s nothing illegal about the situation, Garza is worried for voters. 

“It’s not right that people that have been getting in trouble with the law are overseeing our elections in Hidalgo County when we have this reputation nationally for voter fraud,” said Garza.

Garza says she believes people can change, but she is urging everyone to go out and vote. 

“That shouldn’t be happening here, whether you’re republican or democrat you should want to fight for fair and honest elections and right now we don’t have that,” said Garza.

CBS 4/ LOCAL 23 reached out to the democratic party for Hidalgo County who appointed Handy to the committee but refused to comment. 

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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