After it was discovered that at least 11 illegal votes were cast in the November 2022 election for the Laredo City Council District 2 race, the Texas attorney general’s office is stepping in to investigate alleged voter fraud.
The race for the District 2 seat originally saw current City Councilmember Daisy Campos-Rodriguez win by a margin of just six votes. In early February, however, a judge ruled that the illegal votes were enough to change the results of the election, and Ricardo Rangel was declared the winner.
Following the judge’s ruling to overturn the results, Campos-Rodriguez filed an appeal. The Laredo City Council passed a vote of no confidence in Campos-Rodriguez and requested she resign from the council, but she has refused and remains in office.
In response to the vote of no confidence, The Laredo Morning Times reports that Campos-Rodriguez asserted, “Despite all the half-truths and misrepresentations circulating, I know that I did absolutely nothing wrong and that I am the real candidate the genuine residents of District 2 voted for.”
Notably, it is reported that “the majority of the illegal votes belonged to family members of Campos-Rodriguez or her husband, former District II Councilman Vidal Rodriguez.”
Also involved in the scandal are four Laredo police officers, who are alleged to have cast illegal votes and have been placed on “administrative reassignment.”
On February 14, Webb and Zapata County District Attorney Isidro Alaniz recused himself from the case and invited Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office to investigate last November’s race.
Alaniz said, “Voter fraud has to stop everywhere, across the country, across the state, and here in Laredo, Texas. … If you are going to commit any type of voter fraud, be prepared for the consequences.”
The city council recently approved the investigation, which will look into the Laredo PD, police chief, and police administration. Just days later, Chief of Police Claudio Trevino Jr. announced his retirement, which will be effective April 29, 2023.
“The advantage of bringing in the attorney general’s office is that it helps minimize any allegations of favoritism or that it’s an unfair investigation,” Alaniz said. “These people are impartial. They will come down here and look at the evidence, they will interview people, look at the documents, and see if in fact there are any crimes.”
The AG’s Office of Election Integrity will oversee the investigation.
Voters can report instances of suspected fraud to the secretary of state, who will refer them to the Office of the Attorney General for investigation.