In the wake of recent indictments alleging voter fraud in the city, an Edinburg City Council candidate has appealed to Texas’ Secretary of State to oversee the city’s upcoming municipal elections.
Earlier this year, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton indicted 22 people for election fraud following his investigation into the city’s 2017 mayoral election. Those indicted include Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina and his wife, who is listed as a co-conspirator. Prosecutors allege then-candidate Molina organized a voter fraud scheme to harvest illegal votes for himself from people who were not eligible to vote in the city. Also indicted is the city secretary, Ludivina Leal, who traditionally oversees elections.
Both the mayor and city secretary have refused to resign.
On September 16, Place 3 candidate Carlos Jasso sent a letter to the Texas Secretary of State, Ruth R. Hughes, requesting she assign staff to oversee “every aspect of the City of Edinburg’s 2019 election.”
Jasso appealed for a “fair and transparent” election process and cited the claims of many citizens who approached him, expressing concern that their voices will not be heard. “I believe all law-abiding citizens will welcome the additional oversight, as he who has nothing to hide has nothing to fear,” Jasso said in his letter.
Earlier this month, the city council met to vote on removing Leal from her position, but the vote deadlocked 2-2. The mayor did not recuse himself from the vote and was among those who voted to not remove Leal from her position. However, following pressure from citizens who insisted Leal resign, County Elections Administrator Yvonne Ramon announced last week that Leal would no longer oversee the election.
While city officials may say this is sufficient to ensure a fair election process, Jasso disagrees.
The Secretary of State has yet to respond to Jasso’s letter.